In 1988, Gerald Durrell wrote a letter which was buried in a time capsule and buried underneath the Princess Royal Pavilion at the Trust's headquarters in Jersey. The letter is reproduced below:
To Whom it may Concern
Many of us, though not all in this year of 1988, recognise the following things:
- All political and religious differences that at present slow down, entangle and strangle progress in the world will have to be solved in a civilised manner.
- 2. All other life forms have as much right to exist as we have and that indeed without the bulk of them we would perish.
- 3. Overpopulation is a menace that must be addressed by all countries; if allowed to continue it is a Gadarene syndrome which will cause nothing but our doom.
- Ecosystems are intricate and vulnerable; once misused, disfigured or greedily exploited they vanish to our detriment. Used wisely they provide boundless treasure. Used unwisely they create misery, starvation and death to the human race and to a myriad other lifeforms.
- It is stupid to destroy things such as rainforests before we know how they function and what is in them, especially because in these great webs of life may be embedded secrets of incalculable value to the human race.
- The world is to us what the Garden of Eden was supposed to be to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were banished, but we are banishing ourselves from our Eden. The difference is that Adam and Eve had somewhere else to go. We have nowhere else to go.
We hope that by the time you read this you will have at least partially curtailed our reckless greed and stupidity. If we have not, at least some of us have tried...
All we can say is learn from what we have achieved, but above all learn from our mistakes, do not go on endlessly like a squirrel in a wheel committing the same errors hour by hour day by day year after year century after century as we have done up to now.
We hope that there will be fireflies and glow-worms at night to guide you and butterflies in hedges and forests to greet you.
We hope that your dawns will have an orchestra of bird song and that the sound of their wings and the opalescence of their colouring will dazzle you.
We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you and enrich your lives as they have done for us.
We hope that you will be grateful for having been born into such a magical world.
Written in 1988 by Gerald Durrell