There’s an old Cree Indian prophecy that goes "Only after the last tree has been cut down... Only after the last river has been poisoned… Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." I find these words clever yet profoundly insightful, and more meaningful today than ever. Across the globe, vital ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate, a rate matched only by the speed with which the species inhabiting those systems are falling to extinction. This is particularly true in the Neotropics, where an extraordinary diversity of plants and animals are struggling with the catastrophic consequences of widespread deforestation and pollution. Many of the forests’ secrets elude ecologists, secrets whose answers will be essential if we are to protect the awesome biodiversity they contain. I study Neotropical butterfly ecology, with the hope that I may contribute to a better understanding of these wonderful creatures, and help conserve them in an uncertain future. Follow me during my work and adventures throughout Latin America here!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Quito from La Virgen de El Panecillo, atop El Panecillo
After arriving late last night in Quito, I decided to postpone my first ever blog post until now... Today was pretty uneventful. I took care of some last minute things, like getting rubber boots and buying some topographic maps of the places I plan to visit in the next four months. I did take a couple of hours to take in a wonderful view of Quito, from La Virgen de El Panecillo, an impressive 45m statue built atop a small volcanic loma (hill) in south-central Quito. She is pictured here stepping on a snake, and from what I'm told that is standard for the madonna. More unusual is the fact that she is winged. Either way, a very nice statue.