On the farthest edge of the world, far from the choking grip of industry and civilization, lay an untouched paradise, drifting in the sea. Palm trees swayed in the warm breeze, shading things that crawled and slithered and jumped. Mammalian cries came from a tropical mixed forest. Tall conifers absorbed rich nutrients from the living soil of the tall mount on which the isle grew. At night, the sea filled with life, glowed with phosphorescence. Tiny creatures darted in between each other, snatching up food and supporting the entire paradise in the process. Plankton drifted here and there, to be snatched up by leathery, reptilian beaks. The air of the island was filled with the smells of a thousand living things, things not even tied to the ground. Large, colorful insects nurtured stiff leafy giants. The giants, in turn, nurtured tarriers, lemurs, sloths, to name a few. Animals long thought extinct roamed peacefully, with nothing of man to fear. It was paradise. But then man came. Buccaneers, supporting a mass of tourists, set anchor on the reefs that surrounded the isle, crushing many life forms. Setting foot on the beach, they brought artificials, plastic, oil, grease! All of them indigestible. The tourists flocked, picked flowers that could have seeded, hurt age old trees with flash photography, and trampled innocent bugs and seedlings. Monkeys and reptilians were slain and eaten, disease was let loose, and what was once the last paradise was now a dying tourist swamp. The buccaneers left, but left their mark. Crushed reefs, poisoned trees, and slain wonders. And slowly, the foreign diseases unknown to this land crept up its igneous slopes, until finally, the last paradise was lost forever. Gone now was the wild of Earth, replaced by a vulgar insult. Where once roamed beasts of wonder and awe, were barren wastelands of toxin. Forests that reached beyond the sky were replaced by “highways and intersections,” so called. No more was the paradise that we called home. No more were the frogs, newts, and salamanders. No more were the elephants that roamed the land, or the 2-story sloths, nor the giant armadillos that grazed the plains. Gone was the tiger of the night. All that was left was metal, rust, acid, and smoke. But a flicker of hope lie in the depths of the barren desert that had been the last paradise on Earth. A sprout, no bigger than a nail, burst from the dead ash. Only the next generation of mankind could determine its fate, but even there, in the smog of industry, lie hope.