The leader of our yellow-headed parrot project, Miguel, in Guatemala with his family waiting to be rescued by boat due to Hurricane Eta's flooding two weeks ago. He is still in a shelter as Hurricane Iota is due to arrive, not knowing when he can return home. We were in the process of building artificial nest boxes for this very endangered parrot, whose tree homes have been devastated. Now we seek funds to help him, his family, and his community return home and rebuild their lives.
It’s been a hard year. We’ve all been overwhelmed in 2020 by the pandemic, politics, protests, powerful precipitation, and precarious populations of parrots, among other things. One Earth Conservation's parrot conservation projects have had more than their share of hard times in 2020 - the pandemic; raging wildfires; death threats, ruined crops due to hurricanes, the difficulty accessing food, money, and other resources; and so on.
As I post this a category 5 Hurricane, Iota, is crossing Honduras and Nicaragua, almost exactly two weeks from when category 4 Hurricane Eta went through the same area. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced and they are still counting the dead and missing. Two of our parrot conservation areas were severely impacted, and one entire community in Guatemala was evacuated as the river rose and inundated their homes.
Daily we receive reports of other parrot conservation areas where crops have been lost, all while Covid-19 and economic disaster continue their slow burn through the same communities. In addition to all this, a record wildfire season destroyed homes and parrot nests throughout many parts of the Americas, and people I know and love have had their lives threatened by those who do not wish for the indigenous to keep their ancestral homes. I fear they will be next on the long list of murdered Central American environmentalists. Closer to home here in the USA, political upheaval and record COVID-19 cases are tearing apart families and communities.
Just when it seems that we have come through one hard time, along comes another, and another. Paraphrasing Stephen Foster’s song “Hard Times Come Again No More,” there are frail forms fainting at the door, and though their voices are silent, their pleading looks rock us to the core. How can we keep hard times coming no more, for ourselves and others?
The short answer is we cannot. Life is hardship and tragedy. And it is also joy and beauty. There is no beauty without tragedy, and no tragedy without beauty. Both are woven into existence, but I do believe it is possible to weave more color into the drab fabric that smothers so many lives.
We do so by bringing hope. This hope arises from our faith that we can accept reality just as it is in all its beauty and tragedy. We see the suffering of others, and how our lives interweave with the tragedy of the commons that causes hunger through ecosystem failure and loss of biodiversity and climate crisis-fueled hurricanes. We then commit and act upon that reality, never defying beauty and wonder in the midst of overwhelming difficulties. This cannot be done alone. We must mourn and celebrate together, and inspire each other to hold on when times get tough.
For this reason, One Earth is holding a free virtual event on December 4th, 2020 at 7 p.m. EST – Hope in Hard Times. Let us come together to share the losses and celebrate the gains. For instance, despite it all, our conservationists have not given up and their work has been amazing! Be inspired by their successes and listen to why things are looking up for 2021. We will share a special time to heal and move forward together.
We’ll also have some fun by finding out what happens next in One Earth’s science fiction, pandemic, apocalyptic, zombie-nuanced parrot novel, "Prion," by listening to dramatic readings of Chapters 1 and 2 (if you missed the reading of the prologue, you can access a recording of it on the registration page)! It is a story of hope in hard times.
For more information, and to register for this free event, go here.
By being there, not only might you find healing, but you offer it to our team members far and wide, and hence to a bruised and aching world. If you have the ability to donate for Miguel and his family and others like them, please do so with our great gratitude.
In hope, always,