FOREWORD GREEN NAMIBIA by Patricia Parinejad
A vast living and breathing organism full of magnificent creatures, exotic trees and plants. Endless expanses of tangerine-coloured sand and golden granite boulders.
A land of exuberant beauty with extensive bushland, boundless grassland plains, rugged, windswept Atlantic coastlines and cascading waterfalls. Reflections of light reminiscent of delicate silk veils. In the air, the rich scent of Namibian Myrrh and wild beasts.
The places I love are primarily imprinted in my memories by their smells. In my home country of Persia, it’s the honey-roasted corn cob, the metro in Paris; in Mumbai, the curries, the mastic tree on Mallorca. And in Namibia, it is the red earth, that spicy balsamic scent of Namibian Myrrh combined with the earthy aromas of critters and the bush.
Balm for my soul.
It began with a summer night’s encounter in Berlin.
Namibia was a country off my radar, but that was to change instantly. With eyes and ears wide open and a pounding heart, I listened to stories of untamed wild fauna, a desert older than the existence of mankind and an all-encompassing sense of great and warm nothingness. I was enamoured and seduced!. Fiercely determined, I wanted to set off immediately and discover this mysterious and enticing land that seemed to comprise everything I loved.
However, it was not until 7 years later that I was to stand on that blessed red soil. With my camera, binoculars and trekking boots, a shimmering sky above me, I felt swept away by the promised gentle infinity feeling insignificant and small, yet also the desire and duty to be worthy of this gift of nature, the land that was to become so dear to me. A journey into the unknown began. In the meantime, the world had undergone a seismic shift as global warming took centre stage. Shaken, I was interested in how the struggling tourism industry was coping with the crisis and began researching.
Since its independence in 1990, Namibia has embarked on a conservation journey as the only country in the world that has clearly enshrined resource conservation and environmental protection in its constitution. I came across several projects striving to conserve natural heritage and advocate wildlife and renaturation initiatives, resources and biodiversity. I discovered dedicated lodges and small businesses committed to environmental sustainability, conservation and slow travelling, as well as scientists, researchers and volunteers engaged in Namibian wildlife conservation. And, local communities endeavour to protect Namibia’s environment and life on land and underwater.
GREEN NAMIBIA was born.
Pouring over the stories of the many initiatives and motivated by the passioned work and lives of others, it became evident that all that could not be fitted into one book. Everything I encountered was much more significant, vaster, and powerful than my photographs and words could ever describe. But sharing stories could be a way to nourish and encourage awareness and reconciliation with nature to foster healthy living on a healthy planet.Moving through life, we find ourselves envisioning our futures and how we want to live in the face of countless different opportunities.
Travel has been a part of my life since I can remember, and I was driven by the need to explore the world in all its diversity. At the same time, being on the lookout for a place to settle, to finally call home. I guess I’m not alone in doing so. But although I had never been to Namibia, it at once felt strangely familiar, resulting in the fact that I have put my search on hold for the time being. Maybe living in the moment is actually more than enough.
My time in Namibia is over for now, but my heart lingers on, burning for its red soil, wildlife, people and smells. Hoping for more hearts to beat for this country.
For a global warming of all hearts.