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"They have no room for hatred
Though they've suffered much pain
From the race we call human"
Olivia Newton John (The Dolphin Song)

For 25 years I chased the light from state to state, driven more to explore and document than to save the world, at least initially. Somewhere along the way an uneasy feeling began to nag at me. I became increasingly aware of threats to wildlife and wild places from human encroachment. Nature was under siege. I learned that we are in the midst of the greatest extinction crisis the world has ever known. I watched in dismay as the wild edge of my neighborhood was replaced by urban sprawl. These realizations tore at my heart even as I continued to record the wonders that remained.

Consider the changes in one lifetime. In 1948, the year I was born, Gatlinburg, Tennessee was a backwoods hamlet that boasted a single retail outlet, Ogle's General Store. Today the place is choked with smog and littered with retail pollution. Traffic is bumper to bumper from town to the top of Clingman's Dome. And the rest of the former hamlet is buried under a parking lot. And at Pigeon Forge, just down the road a piece from Gatlinburg, things are worse! Thank you Dollywood. The traffic may not move at all, for hours, and there are even more parking lots. And the most shocking thing about all this is that no one is shocked about it.

Inevitably, the focus of my travels would shift from local to global, with an idea of providing a window to the world through which others could share my vision and, maybe even my concern. We live in a wondrous world, unique in all the universe as far as we know. There are mind-boggling treasures that need protection and some that still await discovery. I came to the conviction that we must somehow find the heart and political will to conserve a share of the natural world (ecologists say 15% of each ecosystem), before it's too late, and no matter the cost. I vowed to use my travel and photography to help make it happen.

© Danny Kimberlin 2015