Edward Norton wrote -
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust is a fantastic organization. I got involved with MWCT 10 years ago and have watched it grow from a humble effort by a few inspired people out in the wilderness into sophisticated professional team with incredible partners and supporters all over the world. I agreed to be the President of the Board a few years ago and I believe deeply in the importance of the work this group is doing.
Read about MWCT's mission on our profile page by clicking here.
I can see why people would say “Why work on something so far from home in such an exotic and remote place? What do the Maasai people have to do with our lives and our challenges?”
It’s a good question. My answer is that every day we learn more about how interconnected the natural systems on the planet are and we have to confront that what’s happening to the forests and oceans and ecosystems in far away places is going to have a big impact on everybody everywhere. The world increasingly relies on many traditional communities like the Maasai to protect the ecological treasures that exist within the land that they own. Figuring out how people in developing countries can thrive and grow without destroying some of the world's most important natural resources is going to be one of the great challenges of the 21st Century.
I support this effort because I think it’s the kind of model that’s going to truly save a healthy planet for future generations. And because the people involved are just flat out bad-ass and cool. And because it's fun.
This time last year three of the Maasai guys from MWCT came to NY and ran the NY Marathon with me. Amazingly generous people from all over followed our campaign and kicked in to support us and we raised an unbelievable $1.2 million. That funded all of our work in 2010 and will even cover most of the budget for 2011...but not quite all.
So we're working hard to raise about $350,000 that we need to keep this going strong next year.
If we could get a crowd together here and kick in a good chunk toward that goal, that would be truly awesome. And if you donate, we'll get your contact info and I promise you at least one very informative and enjoyable update letter from me every year about what we managed to achieve with your donations.
Thanks so much for your support and Happy Holidays.
Win a Signed Photo of Edward Norton from the Movie Stone
And I wrote
How many times I traveled this road from Sindara to Fougamou. I'm still there, crossing that red land, that endless road to infinity. I'm still under that magical light, under that sky seemed the same that the earth’s first days, the first days of paradise lost. I'm still in the middle of the blaring night, deafened by thousands of different sounds, a multitude of living beings throwing his voice to the night wind, and then ... then it was my union with the land, “la forêt” me and the imperturbable ancient forest, we were all one. I did’nt care about the legions of insects, heat, humidity, scarcity of drinking water, strange paradox in a country where torrential rains flooded the landscape six months at year. That first day when mosquitoes devoured my arms and legs in a moment, the natives smiling complacent, "le furu", the suffocating heat and humidity, "c'est le pays de le souffrance," as somebody named. Nothing mattered. Then I discovered the Ikobey mountains crossing the Ikoy river at night to reach the jungle heart. In that Ikoy section remained a part of me. Amazing landscape almost antediluvian, a piece of impenetrable jungle, Ikobey. The natives didn’t want to ever go to the other Ikoy bank, Why? I asked them, "is thrilled" they said. Why do you think is haunted? I insisted, "animals that bank never answer to this bank", they responded with the wisdom that only has one who has lived his entire life listening the jungle voices, with an overwhelming logic, those animals couldn’t therefore belong to the same world. "The forest has rare things," always said the older mans shaking their head thoughtfully, as who knows something that doesn’t want to reveal, as one who is involved in a secret pact of silence. A collective pact of silence, the secret that lay hidden in almost impenetrable jungle, at the end I also realized that secret. I’m still walking at night, listening through the thousands of different sounds, the faint groans of the tree that cries. I was on the porch of my house one of these trees, the tree that cries it’s says there, and finaly, I heard him mourn once. My house was there, in Sindara, in the middle of the junge, there was my tree that cries, there was a part of my heart for ever.