The Last Frontier on Earth

This poem won second place in the 2008 Pennsylvania State University International Education Poetry Contest. It is based on the given topic - "Be an international advocate: write about a problematic issue in our world today" - and concerns the depletion of rainforests as well as the need for conservation of the environment.

Close your eyes.

Imagine treading through lush tropical rainforests,

Flourishing green worlds teeming with life in every corner.

Home to the eagles, the jaguars, the monkeys, the lizards,

The abode of two-thirds of Earth's animals and plants.

Earth's lungs they are, replenishing the oxygen we inhale.

Earth's pharmacies they are, supplying natural medicines.

Behold the ephemeral dream of wilderness.

Open your eyes.

The drone of the bulldozer becomes a menacing roar,

The machine rhythmically eating up the forests.

Do you see the desperate flap of birds' wings,

The snap of branches, the thunderous fall of an ancient tree?

By ax, fire, and plough, Earth's greatest natural treasures

Fall tree by tree, acre by acre.

Behold the environmental nightmare of reality.

Once there existed a green belt across Earth's middle,

Covering Hawaii, Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia.

Now destroyed for logging, agriculture, ribbon development.

Driven to extinction, 137 species of flora and fauna each day.

Are not the rainforests, the last frontier on Earth,

A wealth of resources more valuable alive than cut and burned?

A century of human intervention is all it takes

To destroy what nature designed to last forever.