I went to the Iguazu falls. The majesty of what displays in front of your eyes is something one has to experience on his own because it’s impossible to convey the feeling with words. I could advise you on where to sleep, how to get there, what to bring but I feel there’s something more urgent I have to write about and share with you here.
The Iguazu falls are part of two national parks, one located in Brazil and the other one in Argentina. Despite the different rules that define a national park all over the world, common guidelines like protection, conservation of the wildlife, of the flora and fauna should be put into practice in everwhere. But it’s not always like that and we all know that.
There’re many social movements aimed to protect nature such as Ecology, environmentalism, green groups, etc. However, being an environmentalist isn’t about a trend and we don’t get to decide whether being one or not. In other words nature doesn’t belong to us, we belong to it and we aren’t in the position to decide whether we like it or not. It’s simple and clear to understand: we breath air, we drink water, we eat earth products. That means our lives depend on nature, but the relationship is actually mutual: the earth’s survival relies on us.
In the Argentine park you will spend at least four to five hours, so you need to bring water and food. A rucksack with a couple of liters of water and some healthy home-made sandwiches is perfect. This may sound obvious to some of you however, but I’d like to state it in order to avoid any kind of consumption in one of the four (!) restaurants inside the national park. A big food house with its associated consumption and disposal processes isn’t compatible with the flora and fauna of a natural area. The latter undergoes an unhealthy and sometimes fatal alteration of its vital course. So my question is: is it absolutely necessary to eat an ice cream or drink a soft drink during our visit ? No, it isn’t. These restaurants won’t shut down, but if we start ignoring them our indifference will have an impact.
Let’s think about the leftovers on the restaurant’s outside tables. They will inevitably attract wild animals. But when I saw people even feeding them it caused me anger and I had to step-in, I couldn’t help it. I kindly invited them not to do so. I did it kindly because I suppose their behavior was driven by mere ignorance and not by bad intentions. Wild animals need to develop their abilities to provide food for themselves, we all understand that the human junk food causes them diseases. As a consequence creating an addiction to this kind of food means threatening an animal species.
I saw plastic bottles of the most famous world beverages floating in the water, I saw and smelt people smoking close to birds and butterflies, I heard families screaming like they were in the middle of an airport.
The lesser invasive human presence the more wildlife will follow its natural course. We’re the one visiting a national park in order to experience nature and its inhabitants so, if we act the same way as when we enter a room where a baby is sleeping we can all benefit of nature’s manifestation without jeopardizing it. I can think of many reasons to act in this way, but none to behave differently.
It was the end of my two days visit to the Iguazu falls, I was walking back to the entrance of the park. My boyfriendand I were expressing our angry thoughts but we couldn’t leave with this feeling. We decided therefore to go back to admire the waterfalls and save that mental image for ever. It was quiet and it was twilight, the toucans came back after the noisy day.
More about the consequences of feeding wild animals here.