Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Child = Good... Rainforest = Good... Child + Rainforest = Pork

Everyone knows that rainforests are a good thing… right? There are essentially no people there to soil them, so they have to be good. And the native peoples who inhabit the rainforests live in perfect harmony with nature. They’re uncorrupted by civilization. Sure, they are savages, but they have a certain… nobility about them.

Now, “civilized” people from the industrialized world see a rainforest and they think of only one thing, slash and burn. They can’t help themselves. Rape the land… thousands of acres every day. Steal the resources from the innocent indigenous peoples. (Did I mention that they live in perfect harmony with nature…?) Kidnap all of the rare, beautiful, diverse animals and enslave them as pets, zoo exhibits or for (GASP!) medical research.

Yep… rainforests are good. You gotta love those rainforests.

And children… you just GOTTA love children. In fact, if you want to coerce… I mean convince taxpayers to fund something idiotic… I mean essential… you know what you have to do, don’t you? Everybody now… you say “IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN”.

How can anyone say no to the welfare of a child? You’d have to be heartless… inhuman really. And what could bring a tear to the eye and part a taxpayer from his hard earned pay better than an Iowa child? Well… maybe a child from one of those indigenous peoples who live in total harmony with nature. But, you have to admit it, “Iowa Child” has got snap. Iowa has its own innocent quality to it. Combine that with the natural innocence of a child and you’ve got it some heavy duty salable innocence goin’ on.

Whoa man… I just had a stroke of brilliance. Hey… what if you put the two together.

Okay… stay with me here. You build an indoor rainforest, okay? Yeah… in a really big dome. And, where do you build it…? IOWA! And you don’t build it in a major metropolitan area. Oh no… You build it in Coralville, okay? And you push it as an educational opportunity for… you got it… children.

Who could say no? This is a win/win baby.

This thing is going to be a nationwide venue. The state is going to pull in a boatload of tourism money. It will be the premiere destination indoor rainforest in the country… hell, in the world! Families are going to travel for hundreds of miles from Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis, even the Quad Cities just to see the indoor rainforest in all of its resplendent rainforest-ness.

It’s going to be a flippin’ gold mine. And with the state and local tax revenues pouring in, this thing is going to pay for itself in a few short years. The Coralville/Iowa City metroplex is going to blossom like a desert flower after a spring rain.

And the educational opportunities for the children of Iowa! It will be the ultimate field trip. Two hours in a bus. Two hours in a humid dome filled with magical plants and natural lore. Oh my, the children will be like little sponges, sucking up the natural knowledge and wisdom of the rainforest. The media-induced scales will fall from their eyes and they will feel and know their place in the universe. Then it’s a sack lunch in a noisy cafeteria and a two hour bus ride home.

But the experience of the Iowa Rainforest will transform every one of those children into academic superstar, supercharged apprentice eco-warriors.

“Hey Johnny, remember when you used to play Xbox and watch violent movies all day? Now you’re a straight-A student, a junior member of Greenpeace and a weekend Habitat for Humanity volunteer. And it all started the day you went on that field trip to that Rainforest thingy.”

How could it possibly get better than this? Are there other lessons to be learned from the rainforest?

Well, maybe one. Remember Brasilia? It’s the capital of Brazil. It’s a planned city that was built smack dab in the middle of the Brazilian rainforest. There was no reason for it to be there except that Brazilian government planners thought it was a good idea. It was planned for a population of over 500,000. Less than half that number currently lives within the planned city limits. An army of low-income maintenance workers employed to keep the jungle at bay live in shanty towns surrounding Brasilia. One architecture critic called it a “utopian horror”. It was a city that nobody needed in a place that nobody lived built in way that nobody liked.

I think there’s a lesson there somewhere.