Nature Blog Network Future Earth: Douglas, Darwin and Doubt.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Douglas, Darwin and Doubt.

What did Charles Darwin and Douglas Adams share, apart from bushy eyebrows and endless foreheads? Doubt. Questing, relentless minds, restless, voyaging natures, and legacies for humankind from their struggles for meaningful existence.

Today, May 25th, is "Towel Day" in annual memory of Douglas Adams (a towel was his recommended 'must have' for a Hitchhiker travelling the Galaxy). Douglas hit something in the global psyche with his Hitchhiker's guide, but it is for his travels closer to home that I remember him. When writing "Last Chance to See" with Mark Carwardine, Monsieur Adams bumped in to Zaire (as was) on a plane full of missionaries, whose niceness made him "want to bite them", and who were discussing their rhino horn or ivory trophies. Douglas was affected by his time with Mountain Gorillas and continued to support their conservation:

"I watched the gorilla's eyes again, wise and knowing eyes, and wondered about this business of trying to teach apes language. Our language. Why? there are many members of our own species who live in and with the forest and know it and understand it. We don't listen to them. What is there to suggest we would listen to anything an ape could tell us?"

It was indeed Adams' Last Chance to See, but Mark Carwardine teamed up with Adams' friend Stephen Fry to give the rest of us (and celluloid posterity) a second chance (where they could find it) later this year - stay tuned and hitch up that towel for Mr. Adams today.

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