“It is curious that the Amazon, so large in our minds, is actually quite small. From far above on a clear day the God’s-eye view from a plane-the jungle looks like moss across an endless field, Even the clouds are far below, barely over the canopy, like bits of cotton blown across some lawn—or like mothers doting over the greenery, carefully watering the jungle from above. From so high up, the great jungle can be seen for what it really is: a very delicate collection of life on the smooth face of a planet. The greatest of its creatures become microbes, the great trees are reduced to lichen even the bipedal primates that are so clever seem small and insignificant, save for the great scars they cut into the green. Cleverness is evident in this grand exploitation, but it will take a different kind of intelligence to preserve the whole and heal the wounds.
And so the question becomes whether this one species can rise from cleverness to actual intelligence; to evolve from being a blight on the great basin to become instead the greatest of its stewards. But that remains to be seen.
Thankfully there are still vast stretches where the green is unbroken and the canopy extends to the horizon.”
—Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon