A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry about people who complained about children, parents of children, breastfeeding parents of children... basically people who think that children are the bane of our existence, the "ass monkeys" we have to endure as a difficult part of life. Extremist environmentalists are now taking a "child-free" stance, saying that by having children you are necessarily damaging the environment and putting a strain on the Earth.
Well... it's time for those whiny complainers to meet James Brooks. This precocious 10-year-old has developed a keen interest in apes, and particularly bonobos, to the point where he's given up birthday gifts, raised money for the endangered animal, and is doing everything he can to raise awareness of them. The Great Ape Trust of Iowa has recently featured James on their site to talk about the extraordinary things he's done. Here's a small taste:
...it would be difficult to find a donor whose contributions were more heartfelt. James became a vegetarian the day the bonobo P-Suke died. He remains in contact with zookeepers at the Columbus Zoo, home of a dozen bonobos, after a 15-year-old male bonobo, Mambo, developed a viral respiratory infection and died on Christmas Eve. He adopted a bonobo at Lola ya Bonobo, a sanctuary supported by Great Ape Trust that cares for bonobos orphaned by deforestation, the bushmeat and pet trades, and the civil war that continues in Democratic Republic of Congo. James is convinced that he enjoys a special relationship with the bonobo Nyota, a resident of Great Ape Trust and, at age 9, an individual James calls his peer.
James' father, Neil, is a former literature professor of mine who is now a good friend, and who is part of the reason why I take pop culture as seriously as I do (this guy taught Poe's "The Raven" by first showing us The Simpsons version of it -- there... I was able to link this story to television somehow). I am truly amazed by this incredible boy. We should all hope our children would be as giving and loving as he is. I hope those people who see a child come walking into a resturant and turn up their snooty noses and say, "Oh good god, there's dinner ruined!" will read about him and maybe, just maybe, realize that some kids aren't the selfish little attention-seekers they think they are.