Wade Davis has a lot of nerve being cheerful. Someone who can list as many threats to the world’s future as he does should be a tormented wreck.
Humanity’s soaring population, eco-degradation, the rapid loss of the world’s languages — these are not exactly things that make Davis’s heart soar.
But Davis brings a New Year message of hope for people who despair about the world’s chance of surviving. And when this affable and famous explorer, anthropologist, voodoo expert and soon-to-be University of B.C. professor expresses hope, you listen.
“The world is not dying. It’s not falling apart. It’s changing,” Davis says. “What young generation has ever come into its own in a world free of peril?
“I personally believe that pessimism is an indulgence, despair an insult to the imagination. There are wonderfully positive things out there.”
People have stopped throwing garbage from cars. Schoolchildren know what the biosphere is. These things are not small potatoes, Davis says. “These are great environmental victories.”
APOLLO 8 AND THE EARTH
He says one of the two greatest revelations of his lifetime was Apollo 8’s emergence from the dark side of the moon on Christmas Eve 1968 to see the Earth climb over the moon’s surface. For the first time in history, human beings saw an earthrise — and were made to understand that they share a living world.