Princess of Chakryn Forest
What happens when a beautiful forest sits on the brink of destruction? In the make-believe world of fairy tales and Japanese anime, a magical princess comes to save the day, of course!
The inspiration for today’s story and photo comes from the anime movie “Princess Mononoke,” produced by Studio Ghibli (the same group responsible for the anime about a little girl who transformed into a Neko in “The Cat Returns“).
Princess Mononoke is a story about the struggle between humans who seek to strip the land of its natural resources, and the supernatural guardians of the land itself. In the movie, a magical forest is inhabited by sentient wolves, boars, forest gods, and other unusual creatures, including intriguing little white sprites called kodama:
Where might a virtual Neko Princess seek to reenact this anime in Second Life? In the lovely Chakryn Forest… replete with magical creatures, mystical trees, and softly lit moon-bows (built by the very talented Andrek Lowell). Within moments of arriving, it was as if the storyline of the anime was meant to magically unfold of its own accord, with the unexpected arrival of two distinguished wolves, Charity and Tobe.
In the story, Princess Mononoke (or ‘San’ as she was called by those who truly knew her) had been adopted and raised by wolves, giving her a great affinity and respect for all creatures of the forest. Thus I was more than happy to overlook my feline biases in honor of the anime’s story, and join my fine furry friends in a convivial canine cuddle. Tobe responded with untoward kindness by offering gifts from his saddlebags, while countless mutual ear rubs, claw comparisons, group yowls, and merriment was had by all.
Soon however, my new Canis Lupus and Rufus friends were ready to depart to more important wolf matters (perhaps to fight in the final battle against the pillaging humans from Irontown in the anime…).
Left to my own devices, I spent the rest of the moonlit night wandering the ancient forest — my fine hearing noting the whisper of hawk wings above, the gentle roar of a waterfall below, and the creak of an old rope swing off in the distance — all the while pondering the underlying message in the anime:
In our world today, the impacts of deforestation are no fantasy. Rainforests once covered an estimated 40% of our globe; today they amount to approximately 6%, with roughly 1.5 acres of forest lost every second.
And it’s not just the loss of trees… nearly half of the world’s plant and animal species found in these forests are either at risk, or on the brink of destruction. Scientists estimate that we’re losing approximately 137 plant, animal, and insect species every day due to rainforest deforestation.
Considering that a great number of prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources, yet 99% of rainforest trees and plants have never been tested for their potential uses in medicine, the impact becomes clear: As these species disappear, so do many possible cures for diseases.
What Can a Globally Conscious Neko (or Human) do?
Recycle everything you can (including your cat food cans). Reuse as many items as possible (plastic tubs, paper bags, mouse traps). Don’t use electricity when your arms (or a mouse) will do the job. Install water-saver shower heads and toilet controls (oh wait, we Nekos hate water, no worries here). Don’t drag the toilet paper roll all over the house (I know it’s fun, but it’s wasteful). Turn down the heat and wear a sweater. Pull weeds rather than using chemicals (okay okay, make the *humans* pull the weeds). Or to quote the “Save the Rainforest” website:
- If you are thinking one year ahead, sow seeds.
- If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant trees.
- If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate people.
All joking aside, no matter how beautiful the forests of Second Life, all of these steps and more will help ensure that the future holds more than just virtual forests like Chakryn for us to explore.
Neko Princess Outfit Worthy of Chakryn Forest:
| Hair | Novocaine: Leona
| Dress | Evie’s Closet: Isolde
| Forehead | Inca Temple: Vanima Tari Elven diadem (the above photo doesn’t do this gorgeous piece of jewelry justice until you see it in person)
| Jewelry | Curious Kitties: Flower Necklace
| Shoes | Maitreya: Grace Heels in White Pearl
| Wolf Avatars | Lost Furest Creatures (in gratitude to Charity and Tobe; though if you keep climbing the tree, following the wooden “Lost Creatures” signs, you might find something of interest for Nekos…)
Excerpts from the Princess Mononoke anime:
Visit Chakryn Forest in Second Life:
Buy a Virtual Tree in Second Life and Help a Real Rainforest:
Learn More About Rainforests and What You Can Do to Help:
© Stacia Villota / Virtual Neko in Second Life – 2008