A tale of two shells

Following the unbelievable experience granted by Planet Forward, Lindblad Expeditions, and National Geographic to travel to the Galapagos with the other Planet Forward Storyfest 2019 winners, I...

This is an eco-poem that highlights the lessons we can learn from the Galapagos Giant Tortoise and Sea Turtle. The inspiration for this piece was an amazing opportunity granted to me by Planet Forward Storyfest and Lindblad Expeditions.

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Past Storyfest Entries

Following the unbelievable experience granted by Planet Forward, Lindblad Expeditions, and National Geographic to travel to the Galapagos with the other Planet Forward Storyfest 2019 winners, I was inspired to create this eco-poetry video that highlights the lives of the Galapagos Sea turtles and the Galapagos Giant Tortoise. Through understanding the lives of these majestic creatures and the environment they live in, I came to understand how we can look to them and the Galapagos for answers on how to appropriately implement conservation in our communities worldwide.

For convenience, I have also included the script of the poem below:

A Tale of Two Shells by Terrius Harris

A place so foreign to the naked eye that travelers would call it fake; unbelievable, indescribable, but in fact, it’s just a projection of what things used to be like before mankind’s ways. 
A place untouched, now uncovered to you in a blink of an eye, this is only a glimpse of the magic that lives here on this island of life. 
An island of endemic creatures, ones not seen anywhere else before, yet two rise above the rest as through their ancient eyes, we can see the trials and tribulations that mother nature has bore. 

Beginning on land we stare into your eyes, with wrinkles on your face and the scratches on your shell telling no lies.
It is you who walked among the dinosaurs in ancient times, head held tall; surviving centuries of natural disasters, and humankind, the largest threat to the environment of them all. 
We stare upon your long neck waiting for you to speak, to tell us the answer to our problems, to help us reconciliate our self-created unfortunate destiny. 
Looking in your land, untouched you roam, and as we gaze upon your beauty we can find answers previously unknown. 

The Giant Galapagos Tortoise, a species almost extinct, but with the careful planning, and intentionality of mankind, you still walk among me. 
It is here we find our lesson, it is here we find our truth, as your very existence is the answer to maintaining mankind’s historical youth. 
For you represent the environment, the land, the trees, even the air we breathe; and just as we saved you, we must act swiftly with intention to save the planet, our home to forever be. 
You teach us that leaving is not the answer, nor hoping that everything will work out is the plan, instead, you represent the work, the dedication, and the unwavering effort that must be put in by every (wo)man.

Leaving the land, and diving into the sea, we find our second guardian, underneath the waves, swimming gracefully. 
As you swim away from us, seemingly set on your own journey, with a closer look we find our second lesson for learning. Within a few strokes distance, yet so much space in-between, it is hard to gather a closer look at what you’re trying to show me. 
Chasing you in the ocean, a place that makes up more than 70% of our home, as I get closer I notice something in your movements as you swim, it is not your strong set path that you follow as you roam. 
Instead, looking closer, I can see the expression on your face; one of peace and acceptance, content, as you are one with this place. 
A lesson not easily learned, as mankind believes things can all be owned, but instead the wisdom that you bestow upon us is that we are all part of something greater and many times unknown. 
For you have withstood the unwavering turning tides of time, a lesson that mankind must learn in order to survive. 
Your lesson is clear as the water you swim through, and it all begins with acceptance from all of us, me and you. 
Acceptance that we are only a small part of the plethora of Mother Earth, and a small dot in the record of time since the universal birth. 
With this said we should let the earth guide us as it pushes us towards reconciliation, with warnings like increased tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, and rising tidal basins.
Just as you swim and let the tide guide you, we too should learn, to make note of Mother Nature’s warnings if our future is what we want to earn. 
The Galapagos Sea Turtle, a species so unique, though others are in existence, I am forever grateful for the lessons that you’ve taught me.

Divided by the land, buried beneath the sea, yet forever connected within the same destiny. 
Creatures unlike any others, in a place never believed to be real, what we should learn is that all we have to do is take note from what we have seen here. 
Protect our oceans, protect our lands for this is the only one we can withstand. 
This is the charge we’ve been given, this is the only lesson we need to learn, for it was said long ago when mankind thought the world was flat, that we were simply sailing through the universe on a turtles back. 
A tale of two shells, one dry, one wet, but both representing the yin and yang of our Mother Earth as we pledge to restore her to the magnificence that the Galapagos has left.

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conservation, endemic species, Galápagos, sea turtles, storyfest winner, Tortoise

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