Yangtze River Headwaters Volunteering Day 24 长江源志愿工作第24天

This is a series of journals recording my days in the Yangtze River Headwaters volunteering project. I will try to update every day but there might be delays in the days I work in the wild without the internet. I’m also trying to write bilingual if time allows. Like it? Follow my Instagram (@anar.chica.yichenguo) for updates!
这是我参与长江源志愿工作的一系列记录。我争取每日更新,但在野外工作没有网络的那些日子会有延迟。在时间允许的情况下,也会尽量使用中英双语。喜欢的话,关注我的Ins账号(@anar.chica.yichenguo)获取更新吧!

The work today was very simple. The group of guest finally left in the morning, so we cleaned up the whole station afterwards. Other than that, I was in the kitchen helping to cook meals. Duoduo saw our tiring face during lunch time, and said to us,’I’ll give all of you a tough task for the rest of the day today: take a nap until 2:30 in the afternoon, and then rest in the post office.’

I thought I couldn’t sleep for so long at noon but unexpectedly I made until 2:30 pm. I went to the post office afterwards to finish the book I read yesterday called <Intimate Contact with Amazon> and then changed for another book <Green Journey Around the Globe> on the bookshelf in the exhibition room. And I started to feel unwell after a few pages of it. I have to comment on the attitudes of the travel writers, especially those who are environmentalists as well. In the book <Intimate Contact with Amazon>, the author mention the word ‘proud’ several times, with which he indeed meant himself quite outstanding. When describing those unusual experiences, there were signs of obvious exaggerations as well. For example, the author said that many of them in the team couldn’t get a good night’s sleep because of the howler monkeys’ howls. During my stay in the Amazon jungle, every night there was also a group of howler monkeys passing by the conservation center that I stayed. Sometimes I was woken up by them too, but that sound was not annoying at all, that was the sound of nature. Every sound was short, with a crescendo and then fade away, instead of suddenly and scarily. And combining with the sounds of insects, frogs, birds of the rainforest, the jungle symphony can put you back to sleep again after just a few bars. We were around ten volunteers and nobody failed to sleep well because of howler monkeys, unless intentionally keep oneself awake to record the beautiful sounds, which I did once. But I shouldn’t be too arbitrary. Maybe it happened that all members of this scientific research team are light sleepers.

Apart from that, the book also described how they were panicked when they found a caiman during a night patrol. I don’t know if the author didn’t do any preparation beforehand (as a member of scientific research team, he didn’t even know about the basics of caimans’ habit. Wasn’t that too irresponsible?) or he’s exaggerating. Anyway, at that time we were fighting for the opportunities to find caimans. It is among the most popular and interesting activities. This reminds me of a documentary called <Dancing with Sharks> that I watched at a marine protection exhibition. The film was made by a student from Nanjing University. For me his uncontrollable fears before getting into the water was such an exaggeration as well. I think for most of the divers (99%, if not 100%), what a desirable experience to dance with sharks! From Puerto Rico where I saw nurse sharks for the first time, to the Bahamas where a huge group of Caribbean reef sharks passing through my side back and forth, every shark encounter raised my adrenaline crazily that I even wanted to hold them in my arms to play (but that’s not allowed because we may damage their skins). But maybe that documentary is meant for people who don’t know the ocean so well. Only exaggerated ‘actings’ can deliver his messages more effectively. Anyway, I don’t think I could make any video so against reality.

<Green Journey Around the Globe> seems to have lots of valuable information worth a read after briefly looking through the book. However the author could not hold his feeling of superiority while writing this book. From the very beginning he wrote: I see myself as a green ambassador, how glorious and what a long way to go! This trip started from the year 1980 until 1998, so maybe this kind of expression is a representative of the value system of that period of time. I wouldn’t comment too much about that. I think it’s ok to label oneself, but environmental protection is really personal, there is nothing glorious or great. Because of the love to nature, one cannot stand any kind of damages, therefore protect it. It’s like Dr. Han couldn’t stand how dirty the pickup was so she started cleaning it. Like what I analysed in my previous journal, environmental protection itself is meaningless in a truly civilised world. It doesn’t need to exist at all. It is because of human activities’ destructions to nature that generated the concept of environmental protection. What’s so glorious wiping your own ass? I’m also an environmentalist, but I only feel shameful for human beings.

But this is not the most important. This at most are the personal feelings of the authors which doesn’t affect me or the rest of the world. The more critical is, although many people are fighting for the nature now, there are also many people who are indifferent or even strongly against it (for example the dumb ass presidents of Brazil and US). Many environmentalists indeed overdo the propagandas. It’s like patriotism turning into chauvinism. Things would have opposite affect when it’s over done. They have raised dislikes of many people. And in this time when environmental protection is not yet widely accepted, if the environmentalists address the ‘glory’ of this act or their own ‘greatness’ too much, to the ones who are against it, it’s like accusing them to be ‘despicable’. Therefore increased the hostility. I think this is something all environmentalists should pay attention to during any kind of propagandas.


今天的工作很简单,主要就是上午送走暂住的十几位客人,全站大扫除,除此以外在厨房帮厨。午饭时看到大家的“操劳脸”,多多说,今天接下来给大家一项艰巨的任务,睡到两点半,下午在邮局休息。

原以为中午睡不了很久,谁知真的一觉睡到两点半。起来后乖乖到邮局休息,收尾了昨天未看完的《亲近亚马逊》,又到展厅书架上换来一本《环球绿色行(外国卷)》。翻开没几页就浑身不舒服。忍不住吐槽下许多游记作者,尤其是其中的环保人士的心态问题。在《亲近亚马逊》中,作者数次说到自豪,并且这个自豪真的纯粹是觉得自己牛逼。在叙述那些不凡经历时,也明显有夸张的成份。比如说,作者表示团队中的许多人由于深夜吼猴的叫声而睡不好觉。我在亚马逊的时候,我所在的保护中心附近也有一群吼候每晚会路过觅食。偶尔也会被他们的叫声吵醒,但那叫声完全不恼人,那是大自然的声音,每一声都很短,都有渐强渐弱,不是突如其来的吓人的声音。再加上雨林里其他许多昆虫、蛙类、鸟类的声音,这一首深林交响曲听了几个小节后便可再次安然入睡了。我同期的近十位志愿者没有一个人因为吼候的原因睡不好觉。睡不着,除非是自己故意醒着,想把这美好的声音录下来。我就曾这样干过一次。当然我也不能太武断,说不定碰巧这个科考队中都是觉轻的人。

然而书中还写到一次夜巡突然发现小鳄鱼,惊恐万状。我不知道作者是事前没有做任何准备工作(作为科考队员,连亚马逊小鳄鱼的基本习性都不了解,这工作未免太不负责任了),还是故意大惊小怪,反正当时我们都是争抢着要去找鳄鱼的,是大家最期待最好玩的一项工作。这让我想起曾在一个海洋保护展上看到的南京大学的一位毕业生拍摄的与鲨共舞的纪录片。在我看来纪录片中他在下水前瑟瑟发抖反复强调自己害怕的样子实在作秀得过分。我想对于绝大部分潜水员来说(没有100%也有99%吧),与鲨共舞是多么令人向往的事情啊!从第一次在波多黎各见到护士鲨,到巴哈马海底身边的加勒比礁鲨群穿梭来去,每一次与鲨共舞都让我亢奋得肾上腺素飙升,恨不得抱着他们玩(但这是不允许的,可能会伤害它们的皮肤)。但也许那部纪录片针对的是并不那么了解海洋的人群,只有夸张作秀,才能形成更有冲击力的表达效果吧。但我想我是无论如何也无法违心这样拍摄的。

《环球绿色行》这本书我首先粗略地翻了一下,觉得值得看的有价值的内容还是挺多的。但作者写作的时候也同样抑制不住他那无处安放的优越感。从一开始作者便说:我自命为一个绿色使者,是多么光荣而任重道远。这段旅程从1980年走到1998年,所以这样的表达或许也只是作者那个年代价值观的体现吧,我也无意多说什么。我觉得给自己贴标签这没什么,但环保真的是很私人的事,没有什么好光荣好伟大的。因为喜欢大自然,见不得破坏所以就保护咯。就像寒大夫见不得车子脏了所以就自己动手洗车咯。就像我之前日志里分析的,环保这件事本身在一个真正文明的社会里是没有任何意义的,根本就不需要存在。是因为人类的活动破坏了地球才产生了“环保”的概念。自己给自己擦屁股,有什么好光荣的。我也是环保人士,可我只为人类感到羞耻。

但这不是最重要的,这些顶多也就是这些作者个人的感受,于我于世界都并无大碍。更大的问题是,现在世界上虽然提倡环保的人很多,但对此漠不关心甚至极力反对的人也不在少数(比如巴西和美国的傻X总统们)。有很多所谓的环保人士也确实做得过了头,就像是爱国主义变成了沙文主义,凡事过犹不及。他们引起了很多民众的反感。而在这个环保观念并没有非常广泛普及的时候,环保主义者如果过于高调地宣扬环保的光荣或其自身的伟大,那么在反对派看来,无异于贬损他们“卑鄙”,这样便助长了敌意。我想这是所有“搞环保”的人在做任何类型的宣传时都应该注意的一点。

Catching caiman at night.
夜里找鳄鱼

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