September 4, 1995

It was one sunny day when we ventured to Everglades National Park. Strolling through the walkways above the marshes, I noticed an alligator with its large cute eyes and its cute long pointed mouth, playing with itself (before this, I had a poor stereotypical impression of alligators' appearance -- but, as with most things in this world, there is almost always a form of beauty, though perhaps hidden, in each being). I named the alligator Oscar, and referred to it as a male, though I never knew its actual sex.

At first sight, Oscar captivated me. I sat above him, watching his every movement. As he grew conscious of my presence, he suddenly stopped his frolicking, and slowly sensed the purpose of my existence. As he slowly realized that I was no threat to him, little by little, he re-initiated his playful activity, which, as I could vividly recall, involved him gently bumping his long cute snout to a small piece of wood.

For once, I envied the life of an alligator. His existence that day portrayed a life led in peace, away from the complications similar to the tangled lives contemporary humans have learned to weave for themselves. I left the Everglades with Oscar in mind, wondering how and where he'll be the next time I get to visit.

You see, Oscar's existence is currently being threatened. The ecosystem of the Everglades National Park is among the many environmental casualties brought about by our constant need to alter nature to achieve our selfish desires. The Everglades is but a simple manifestation of this catastrophic trend. There are bigger and more serious environmental threats currently in existence, and there are several looming on the horizon. Oscar will, without a doubt, be affected by our actions. He's not alone, however. There are countless Oscars, countless marshes, countless lands, countless bodies of waters, countless plant lives, and even countless human beings whose future will indubitably be touched by the changes our technological world initiates.

Sadly, we have been turning to technology to answer our problems. Little do we realize that most technological solutions pose hidden and unforeseen consequences that will inevitably haunt us in the future. Technology is not the answer to most of our problems. Instead, our whole human race has to alter our worldly paradigm. We must learn to view mother nature as a precious entity, and not a mere commodity which we can utilize to fuel our greed. Let us learn from the Native Americans (whose culture and people, incidentally, have long been victims of the cruelty and destruction dished out by the so called "non-indigenous" societies), who have taught us that nature is sacred. We are but a tiny speck in the history of our nature's existence. We don't own nature. We owe nature.