The world could learn a thing or two from Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.
Unable to sleep, I popped the 1992 animated film into my DVD player at 430 this morning, eager for a comforting classic to lull me back to la-la-land. But the familiar tale of one curious fairy’s quest to explore the vast rainforest did more than just ease my chatty mind.
The themes of the family flick, pollution and deforestation, hold more true now, in the 21st century, than they did when the movie was released in the early 90s. The experience of these man-made catastrophes are portrayed from a fictional point of view (at least I’m told fairies are fictional; I’m not entirely convinced), but the devastating effects are terrifyingly real.
When Crysta, the young, magi-in-training, ventures beyond the reaches of her rainforest home, Ferngully, she discovers that the world is not innocent the way she believed. When she meets Zak, a human, she allows him a glimpse at forest life. But what she doesn’t realize is that Zak is part of a logging team, who are there solely to cut down the trees to manufacture lumber. The team has also accidentally released Hexxus, who represents the pollution such actions cause. But once Zak sees the pain and destruction his crew is causing, not only to the fairies, but to the rest of the forest animals, he teams up with Crysta to bring an end to the demolition. Together, they are able to shut down the logging company, trap Hexxus and save Ferngully, all while reminding me of the simple joy of make-believe.
But sadly, the idea of forever shutting down the logging industry is make-believe.
There may not be such things as fairies, but the message Ferngully gets across is very real. Logging and deforestation have always been dangerous issues, but it won’t be much longer until these forests are no longer endangered: they will just be gone completely. The rate of deforestation far surpasses that of new tree growth; some forests may never grow back. Even through forest management and recovery, there’s still no guarantee the forests we willingly and intentionally destroy will ever recover. And these forests are crucial parts of innumerable ecosystems. Not only are we destroying plant life, we are forcing animal life out of their natural habitats, causing many to become endangered and extinct. And if, and when, it gets bad enough, the repercussions will not just affect isolated plant and animal life.
If we don’t do something soon, we’ll soon be facing global consequences.