You would not believe your eyes,
If ten million fireflies,
Lit up the world as I fell asleep,
‘Cause they’d fill the open air,
And leave teardrops everywhere,
You’d think me rude,
But I would just stand and stare,
~ Owl City, Fireflies
Let me tell you a little story.
Many years ago, when I’d first moved up to KL, a friend took me all the way to Kuala Selangor. In the dead of the night, not telling me what to expect. I am a little “jakun” so I wasn’t quite sure what was up although the thought of axe murderers did cross my mind – apologies to said friend :P After a couple of wrong turns on dark little country roads, I found myself at the Firefly Park at Kuala Selangor.
It was pitch dark except for some lights where the chalets were. We got into a boat with a guide, and headed out into the quiet waters of the mangrove swamp. There was just a tiny sliver of moon and no stars – perfect the guide told us.
We sat and drifted out in the water for a while and then suddenly, as if by magic, I saw the mangrove trees come to live with the pulsating lights of a million fireflies. They made the trees look like they were strung with fairy lights! It was magical!
Since we had the boat to ourselves, we asked the guide to just let us sit there and he did. I sat in the pitch darkness, the quiet night lit only by the pin prick light of the fireflies in the leaves and branches of the mangrove swamp. It was one of the most amazing nature experiences I’ve ever had.
5 years later, I went back to the same Firefly Park in Kuala Selangor. It was the same sort of night, but there weren’t as many fireflies anymore. I asked the guide who told us that the fireflies were disappearing because we are losing our mangrove swamps. Fireflies need the mangrove swamps to survive – and I’ve since learnt that we humans do too. I was very sad. There were a few initiatives by the Selangor government back in the day to rehabilitate the area but my personal belief is that things are only getting worse. I haven’t been back there for a while – I don’t know how it is now.
One day, we will lose our fireflies – an attraction and something very unique to our country. Some day, the next generation will no longer know the magic of the fireflies of the Kuala Selangor mangrove swamps.
So, whilst I’m not one for Earth Hour and Earth Day, the latest CSR initiative by the Estee Lauder Group of Companies to plant mangrove trees in Kuala Selangor in conjunction with the Malaysia Nature Society grabbed me. This is part of their Save the Environment Day effort which falls on June 5, but the program will run for the whole month of June.
For the month of June, you can donate RM25 to the Malaysia Nature Society to buy yourself a mangrove sapling. This can be planted by you at the mangrove swamps of Kuala Selangor on August 5, 2010 with the Estee Lauder Group of Companies team, or they will plant it on your behalf.
As a gesture of appreciation, you will receive a reusable bag – quite a cute one really. Bright eye catching colours and nice thick waterproof material that folds into its own pouch. I’m told that 100% of the proceeds go to buying the saplings so you are really getting the bag “free”.
I don’t usually do this, but I decided to show you the receipt I received for making my donation at the booth at MV Megamall to show you that it comes from the Malaysia Nature Society, not Estee Lauder. So, you are really making your contribution to the MNS. If you buy from the Estee Lauder counters, I’m not sure what your receipt will say, but I’m assured the proceeds all go to the MNS.
To find out more or to contribute, head down to MidValley Megamall or The Gardens (partners of this effort) and read about why we need our mangrove swamps. Amongst others, its our first defense against a tsunami and against pollution. We have a LOT to thank these mangrove swamps for – not just the pretty fireflies. Only 0.1% of the world is covered by mangrove swamps and a large percentage is found in Malaysia. If we don’t save them, who will?
Perhaps I should make another trip to Kuala Selangor and see if the fireflies are still there. Anyone with me? :)
To make your contribution (minimum RM25) or to purchase a Beautiful Earth bag, go to any brand under the Estee Lauder Group of Companies, including Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Origins etc in MidValley Megamall and The Gardens; or the Malaysia Nature Society Booth at MidValley Megamall and The Gardens. Available from 1 June – 4 July 2010. Find out more on the Beautiful Earth by Estee Lauder Group of Companies Facebook page.