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Climate change stories: the golden toad’s tale

Stories and News No. 1015

Once upon a time there was the golden toad’s tale.
That is, its conclusion.
More than ever, in these burning times, where a giant iceberg, twice size of Luxembourg, has recently been broken in the Antarctic Peninsula, ahead of the now unavoidable climate change’s bills we’ll have to pay in the coming decades, and the contextual need to tell positive examples too, inside the chronic, nowadays aptitude.
Let's now take a leap in the past, reading in reverse the pages, coming back to the beginning of the story.
So, we are in 1967 and the herpetologist Jay Mathers Savage, a reptile and amphibian researcher, is located in central Costa Rica, precisely Tilarán's cordillera.
"Can you see that, too?" Savage says, whose name means he’s so far from being intimidated by the brutality of the most unspoiled nature.
"Boss," a comrade exclaims, "a nugget! We found the gold, we are rich, we found the gold..."
"But it’s moving," another guy rattles, "the nugget is alive!"
"And it jumps as well ..." emphasizes the former.
"You're almost right about everything, friends," observes Jay as he approaches the sparkling discovery with an equally enlightened look. "We really found gold, and it’s really moving. It jumps and dances, runs, and vibes of life. But, luckily, we won’t be rich for that..."
This was his first encounter with the wonderful, golden toad.

From this point on, the usual Western-styled story, with the pale explorer as the main interpreter, is colored by a reasonable reality and the tale’s protagonist becomes the living nugget.
How much he seemed to be odd at its big eyes, the human with the strange hat and the old camera, in that day of the last sixty’s.
Better, curious, worse, clumsy and intrusive.
Who could have expected the rest?
No animal, wisely faithful to the underestimated instinct, might have imagined how lethal he could be, the bipod in jacket and tie, the one who would never put his foot on those lands.
"Once they’ll see me too," the toad thought, "and they will look at me with the genuine surprise of that very first one, all humans will be our friends."
Over time, as it had happened to many before it, the golden toad understood what kind of death gift they were preparing for everybody.
So, with the water becoming warmer every day and the rains more and more rare, it began to try everything.
It immediately joined each environmental and ecological sustainability associations.
"From today we are green," it told its family back in the den.
"Poor us, your dad has become colorblind," was its wife's comment.
"No, Mom," said the older son, "it finally saw that gold doesn’t camouflage at all, well done, Dad!"
"You're wrong," the sister interrupted, "it will also does, but it cannot match with my brown eyes..."
"You’re both mistaken," said the smallest child, "it just informed us that we became vegetarian..."
Over the years, they abandoned any behavior that was somehow disrespectful vs nature, leaving the easiest, superficial and harmful ways, through virtuous and attentive to the well-being of the planet trails.
Over and over the golden toad came in contrast with its family.
"So much is useless," they often protested. "What does it matter, if we only do it? So many other toads continue to deny even that the climate is ruinously changing. "
"If everyone thinks so, things will never be better," it replied. "We have to do it for ourselves too, and so being an example for others."
The situation deteriorated and the discussion was repeated on a timely basis.
It got worse again, and all went as above.
In the end, even the former jumping nugget gave up the evidence.
"Maybe you're right," it admitted one day. "We're too small to change the story."
This story.
It was 2004, about forty years after the encounter with the curious human.
The year when the golden toad became extinct.
Thirteen years have passed since the last sight of it, yet, I am still convinced that, in spite of everything else, we can and should do something better than our victims.
Maybe we owe it to us and them.
Because it would be really shameful to behave as if we were all as innocent, tiny golden toads…

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