The Congo with Tom Bedell
Walking through the jungle, three indigenous men in front swinging machetes to clear a path…my visit to the Republic of Congo was inspirational. For thousands of years, this rain forest has covered the lands surrounding the Congo River…home to gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and the forest people who have made this their home for a millennium. The smells were damp and organic. The sun shielded by the canopy of diverse, yet connected trees. The insects, prolific in their haven eco-system. It is the second largest rainforest in the world – The Congo River Basin Rainforest!
The power of Mother Nature was ever-present. Life abounds – both plants and animals. We are merely a guest in this glorious environment of life, evolution, inter-connectivity and magnificent tonewood trees. My host was the CIB company, initially founded in the 1960s by a German who embraced the spiritual tropical rainforest. Policies limiting harvests, requiring 30-year rotations, creating safety zones for the primates and other wildlife, and refusing to disrupt the indigenous people who have made this their home since recorded history, are the foundation of bringing an economic opportunity to the local people while preserving the sacredness of this forest – truly nature’s glory.
Like the Amazon in Brazil, the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, Southeast Asia’s rainforest stretching from Laos to Indonesia, the Papua New Guinea highlands and even the Tongass in Alaska, the Earth has evolved over millions of years and tropical rainforests have become the habitat nurturing life, filtering our air, and making our planet habitable. On their own, these forests will last for multiple millennia into the future, and it is human greed and exploitation that disrupts their invincibility.
My heart was alive with happiness as I experienced the governmental support for protecting the Congo River Basin Rainforest and CIB’s unwavering determination to preserve what nature has created. 100% FSC certified, I was allowed to study the conservation plans. Only one to two percent of any species is harvested in designated areas every thirty years. The African ebony and African mahogany we source from this forest is insignificant compared to the aliveness of natural rejuvenation of Mother Nature. This forest is not about replanting, human managed forest agriculture, or any other imposition…it is about honoring the life-nurturing power of our Earth.
As you play your Bedell Guitar, you can rest assured that when we say, “ SEED TO SONG,” it is in our DNA, literally!