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Tell Importance of Rain Forest

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Iowa City Press-Citizen

July 14, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.]

I think that the editorial "Developments bode well for rain forest," July 10, and the Iowa press in general, fails to help the people of Iowa understand the efforts of a very few to build something, on a nonprofit basis, that will help everyone to be able to know what a rain forest is, why they are important to sustaining life on earth, what life was like in such forests for most of mankind's existence before the development of city/state, and what is now being lost both biologically and culturally from the planet at an unsustainable rate.

It is difficult to understand how people who care about their children, their children's children and beyond could not want to have, in their state, a nonprofit project singularly dedicated to helping their own children see, feel, smell and interact with an aspect of the planet that is critical to the survival of our species. Yet most published articles do not ever explain the what or the why of that which will be built. They concentrate instead on the political issues that seem inevitably to surround every effort to help Iowans recognize their inter-relationship with the natural world beyond Iowa.

As someone who has worked with Ted Townsend on the Great Ape Trust project, I have become familiar with the concerns of those who believe that no one could really think a rain forest will help Iowans learn to protect their own heritage as citizens of the world. Such skeptics therefore conclude that the "real agenda" of the project must be something that is not evident. This is sad for Iowa, as such skeptics might needlessly serve to prevent Iowans being able to benefit greatly from an educational experience not available elsewhere in the world.

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
Des Moines