African Blackwood Conservation Project

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1997 ABCP Newsletter - Page 2


Red Rock, Texas • African Blackwood Conservation Project • Annual Report No. 1—July, 1997


Some Thoughts on ABCP

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Sebastian Chuwa sorting mpingo seeds.

This project is an experiment in pure democracy—that is, it is a grass-roots effort to accomplish a worthy goal that the established institutions are passing by. As Buckminster Fuller has said, "The things to do are the things that need doing—that YOU see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done." Seeing a need and in community acting together to address that need from the bottom up, instead of having policy dictated from the top down, is still a revolutionary concept. It is a an acceptance of responsibility that, even if it benefits us personally, speaks to an altruism that is one of the refining qualities of civilization–to give of oneself for a higher cause. In initiating this project, I do not pretend to have any greater vision that anyone else, but simply took action in response to trends that are apparent.

It is obvious to me that natural resources are diminishing in time with the increasing demands of a growing population unless wise human stewardship intervenes in that interaction. No one with a moment’s introspection would want to deprive the generations of the future of the same blessings with which we have been graced. I agree with the injunction of the writer Leo Tolstoy that "The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served by others as little as possible and to serve others as much as possible." In cooperation in establishing and supporting the African Blackwood Conservation Project, we serve to insure the future viability of a remarkable gift of nature, whether we are around to participate in its benefits or not.

So I give each one of you who have been moved to participate in this effort my heartfelt thanks and applaud your vision in seeing the need for such a project. Together, we have initiated a movement towards the actual replanting of a valuable resource that might someday disappear without such action. Seeds have been planted, small mpingo seedlings are thriving and growing under the loving care of Sebastian Chuwa, and though their number be few, they represent hundreds of future trees that were not growing just one year ago.

So the first real steps have been taken in this journey, and I feel it is going to take perseverance to stay the course. But we now have something to show for our efforts, and if the energy stays behind this ideal, we will reach a critical mass that will then begin to draw attention, and with that notice, the desire of others to get on board and help what we have begun. The ABCP may well have the potential of becoming a pilot project to demonstrate a means of conservation and replenishment of the African blackwood tree supported and carried out by ordinary citizens who care. Thanks for joining in the journey.

Tanzania is in East Africa,
just south of the equator.


Detail–Moshi is south of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Mama Mariamu preparing the seedbed.

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Watering the seedbed.

We can do no
great things—
Only small things
with great love

...Mother Teresa

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Seedlings in pots at age 2 months.




ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.