"In December 2005 a research team organized by Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Science was trekking through northwestern New Guinea when they discovered something miraculous: deep in the Foja Mountains they found a jungle teeming with life dozens of new species of animals and plants in a vibrant paradise, far from civilization of any kind. 'It's beautiful, untouched, unpopulated forest. There's no evidence of human impact or presence up in these mountains,' said Dr. Bruce Beehler, co-leader of the group. The jungle is so remote that the research team had to be dropped into the region by helicopter. Even the local indigenous people, the Kwerba and Papasenas who accompanied the research team on their journey, were astonished at the beauty and isolation of the jungle. Not even in the stories of their ancestors was there any mention of the place. The jungle lies within a protected zone and is, Dr. Beehler believes, secure at least in the short term, supported by the stewardship of the surrounding communities.
Living in Awe
"Imagine yourself in this jungle. Let your senses be tickled by the moistness, the birdsongs and the depth of life around you. Discover life for the first time. As precious as this newly discovered paradise in New Guinea is, it draws from the very same source of life that you do. The same air, the same sun, the same watery planet connecting us to one another in the complex dance of life. The same breath that sustains this tropical paradise also sustains a newborn lamb. The same breath sustains you.
Reconnecting to Life
"Animal awareness begins when we see beyond the myth of separation. Animals do not exist as one entity and us as another. Rather we are all living beings, each of us perfectly unique for our own species and inexorably connected to each other through the air we breathe. Let go of separation, embrace connection wholeheartedly and you will have entered into a world of animal awareness; a world in which the suffering of any species hurts and cries out for love.
Being a Solution
"How do you move beyond finding solutions to actually being a solution? The author and humane educator Zoe Weil suggested: 'Be a representative of a club worth joining.' This means living your life guided by your principles, letting your actions reflect the 'you' that you want the rest of the world to see. Hope, compassion and action can accomplish just about everything. Make your life an exciting place to visit, and people will be drawn to you and your cause.
Learn from Animals
"Follow the movements of a cat for a day. Study a songbird and gaze into the big, dark eyes of a cow. To be a voice for animals, you need to know their language. You need to listen to them, even in their silence. What is it that makes your heart sing? What is it that makes your heart break? What are you willing to do to create a more compassionate world?
Closer to the Edge
"Come on over and take a look into the world of compassion. Look at the people of Gaviotas, Colombia, living harmoniously and sustainably in a war-ravaged land. And there's a rescue team assisting starving alley cats. There's a grocer proudly placing cage-free labels on his organic eggs. There's a woman releasing a mouse from a humane trap into the safety of the forest. There's a politician lobbying for a progressive animal welfare bill. It's all happening, but you have to step right up to the edge to see it. Look, there's a forest, bursting with life. Would you believe its trees were once carefully harvested? And look over there. There's a fourth-grade class cleaning up a riverbank.
"We're going to leave you with this. It's time for us to move on. Thank you for coming this far, and we wish you well on your journey. From here at the edge, your voice can be heard for miles.”