Hello People and Penguins everywhere!
I’m Tiki the Penguin. This website is very unusual because it’s the first ever to be made by a Penguin. Let me tell you a bit about myself. In my chickhood on the island you call South Georgia in the Antarctic, some older penguins told me about some of the horrid things people have been doing to the oceans we catch our fish in, the land we nest on and the air we all breathe.
So I learned some more. And became even more shocked and saddened at what’s happening to our home, the planet Earth. I wanted to do something to help people understand what the rest of us animals have always known and some people seem to have forgotten: how to live life without ruining and wasting the Earth.
Then, on a visit to New Zealand, I met two kind people who brought me all the way back to Britain on an aeroplane and helped me to learn to read. Now I’ve learnt to type too. I sit on the desk where my friend has his computer and I’ve learnt to surf the Internet to find things out. To me, a website was my own two feet. Normally, I use them to walk about or help steer when I’m swimming. Now I know about the World Wide Web and use my right flipper to move the mouse. I’m typing this with my beak, as you’ll have guessed.
I’ve discovered that websites usually have a mission statement. Mine is simple: I want to help everyone – all life I mean, not just penguins and people – to rediscover how to live together without unkindness, without greed, without waste, without unneeded killing
How am I, a very small penguin with no power and no money, going to do this? The best way I can think of is to use your clever machines such as computers to give anyone (penguins and people) anywhere truthful and honest knowledge about what some people are doing to all of us in the name of what seems to me to be simple greed. As a Penguin, I see things differently. Penguins and all other living things have a right to live their lives without being killed, poisoned or burned by greedy people. I’ve noticed too that most people in the world are also suffering for the same reasons as other animals … because of greedy people who want much more than their fair share of food or other things.
I don’t want you to think my site is all going to be gloomy. I’m going to try to tell you about happy, cheerful things I’ve discovered too. I believe all of us living things – penguin, plants, people – can really live together in harmony. We did once before … before people discovered technology and used it to do bad things like make bombs, poisons and engines which burn oil.
My name – Tiki – means ‘talisman’ – a sort of lucky charm – in the language of South Pacific people. I am a lucky Penguin, being able to do something to stop the damage to the Earth. No Penguin or other animal has ever done so before in this way. But I do need help. I need your help. I want you to tell me things which you think I should put on my site, perhaps about some happy news about something that you and your friends are doing. You could send me pictures too. And if you think I ought to change something, please write to me and tell me. I want my website to be both sad and cheerful, honest and simple. My motives are nothing to do with greed. So long as I can eat a few fish every day, have a swim and preen my feathers, I’m happy.
One day, I hope to find a Penguin mate and help rear a chick, but that means a lot of work. So I have to wait until you’re all helping me to Let’s work together!make my website work for our planet. It’s up to you. I don’t care whether you’re 5 or 75, feathery or furry, female or male, black or white, Tibetan, Peruvian or any other nationality, so long as you have the same aims as I have.
Tiki the Penguin interviewed by a friend
Tiki in his penguin suit
Tiki is not exactly a recluse but he doesn’t go out in public much. He’s rather small and is afraid he’ll be squashed by a car. He just makes quick forays down to the sea near where he lives to fish when he gets hungry. Here he is interviewed by a human friend.
What is your website for?
Tikithepenguin.org is a unique website written entirely by … me!’ explained Tiki. ‘My name Tiki means ‘talisman’ (good luck charm) in the Polynesian language.’ He’s learned not only how to speak English (y un poco de español también), but how to write it. He sits in front of the keyboard and pecks the keys with his beak.
Sounds slow but it seems to work.
This is Tiki at work on his computer
Why should Tiki the Penguin want his own website? Do penguins have egos as well as eggs?
Tiki is quite uninterested in egos and any other such human concepts. What he’s interested in is Life, of which he is but one example. He had an unpleasant encounter with humans when he was fishing in the Antarctic Ocean with his friends. He doesn’t like to talk about this but the result was it galvanised him into action. Tiki has learned his ‘human’ skills of communication in English because he has a mission. That’s all. No ego, just a message for all of us.
What is Tiki’s mission?
He has no strong views about his own – or penguins’ importance – in the web of Life. But he has very strong views about self-important humans who are messing up the life of his penguin friends and relations and of practically all life everywhere. This is his mission. He wants to take you on a journey to see what humans are doing to other life and to the planet all of us are supposed to share. He wants to use his new Website to conduct you around the web of Life and show you some of the terrible things that people do to other life … and even to each other.
How can he do this?
He feels he has several roles. Perhaps the most important is just to show us, in words and images, what we are doing which is bad.
But Tiki is, like all penguins, a cheerful character. Happy Tiki wants everyone to be happy too, to take what they need and no more … and to give. ‘I want to make you laugh or feel cheerful by telling you some good news too,’ he explains.
Studious Tiki has become quite an ace researcher. He loves to surf in his beloved Antarctic Ocean but now surfs the Internet, ferreting out the best companion Websites for you to visit.
Are animals cleverer than we think?
Tiki knows perfectly well that they are. ‘You humans think we animals are dumb,’ he chuckled, ‘but we’re not. Just long suffering and patient. I want to hijack your cleverness – with Internets and computers and high-speed communications – and try to put matters to rights a little if I can … using your methods.’ As just one example of how dumb people can be, he noted, ‘You get lost and have to make special machines to tell you where you are. We birds never get lost. Some of us can fly or swim thousands of miles and find our way back to our nest sites. So can turtles and many other apparently simple creatures. Yet you folks don’t know how we do this … and I’m not telling you how. I bet you used to know – once – before you got so clever.’
Don’t you think ‘being clever’ is a virtue?
‘I don’t think so. I’ve noticed you rate ‘clever’ people highly. To me, what you call ‘cleverness’ usually means trouble. ‘Clever’ people invent nasty things – like atomic bombs, deadly pesticides, guns, engines which burn oil and wreck the atmosphere. You now play God with life itself. And almost all this damage seems to be because of your lust for those most dangerous things: money and power.’
It’s a tiring business, all this battling for Nature
Are animals wise?
Tiki laughs at this sort of question. ‘Most of us are what you call ‘wise’. And so are some of you. People like Gandhi and E.F.Schumacher were wise. And if you look at the native peoples of the Amazon, of North America, of Australia – of everywhere really – you find wisdom.’
What then is wisdom?
‘I think wisdom is simply having knowledge,’ said Tiki, ‘which is sufficiently great and yet humble to let us all to live together on our home, Earth, without upsetting it. Animals who kill millions of their own kind, over and over again as humans have, cannot be wise. Animals who poison the air, the land and the sea, killing all kinds of other life they don’t even understand, cannot be wise. Animals who destroy other animals for fun (what you call sport) and not for food, cannot be wise. Animals who pursue what you call ‘profits’ and ‘money,’ even when they cause endless suffering to millions of other animals and their own kind, cannot be wise. That’s what I think.’
Who rules the world?
‘It looks like you people do. But wait. You’ve only been around for a few tens of thousands of years. Most of the damage you’ve done has been in this century – that’s just one 45 millionth of the age of our planet. Penguins have been around for millions of years. And the dinosaurs which you all think of as stupid managed 150 million years.’
Tiki paused to eat a couple of fish he’d caught earlier, finding all this talk quite difficult.
‘I wonder how many more years you’ll manage. You have no idea what you’re doing with your massive burning of oil in your machines and your devastation of Earth’s beautiful forests. There are too many greedy people and you are fouling the nest for every part of life. Don’t you realise that Mother Earth is far more powerful than you? She can snuff you out as she has snuffed out other species in the past. The way you’re going, you won’t even last another century.’
Is there no hope?
‘I’m glad to say there is. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t bother trying with my Website.’
Tiki gets worked up about what people are doing to his planet, but nothing can suppress his cheerful and optimistic nature.
‘I see signs that some of you are waking up … particularly young people. Most of you are still asleep, but you wide-awake ones have to work hard to wake up the others. And it does take courage to stand up and be counted these days.’
‘Let’s work together to do what we can to stop the mess you’re making with your greed, your wars, your thoughtless devastation of all kinds of places where other animals and plants live. I believe we can do it – together. Will you join me and help make our planet – our only home – beautiful and safe and fair for all of us?’
Several people have asked me who helps me make my site. It’s true: I do have some human helpers who work with me to do things I can’t do. This is the whole of my team:
Me… Tiki the Penguin. But you already know about me if you’ve read this page
Sam Chamberlain has completely redesigned and rebuilt this website so that it is fully responsive, using WordPress. He undertook this with skill and a dedication way beyond what one could reasonably expect. Sam has a post-graduate degree in Information Technology and has been working in the IT industry since 2001. For more on the web and IT work he does see his website www.samsara.co.uk
Sally Hargraves is an artist with many strings to her bow, one of which is her astonishing ability to think up wonderful cartoons to illustrate some of the world’s problems in an amusing way.
Bry Lynas is a freelance science writer with a PhD in Earth Sciences (University of Cambridge, 1970) . He and his wife, Val, have a small farm upon which they grow fruit and vegetables sustainably using organic methods. Here he is planting trees and making biochar, among many other things, and experimenting with zero carbon living.
Val Lynas is editor. She met and immediately fell for Tiki in New Zealand over 25 years ago, and she and Tiki have been inseparable ever since.
Dalmae Butler is very talented and one of her talents is an ability to draw pictures of me. She has just started working with me (April 2020)
Amy Ludman has helped greatly with SEO.
Anne Ward: This talented Irish cartoonist has drawn many of the beautiful pictures of me in the early years of my website (well, perhaps I’m not quite so fat!).
YOU! Yes, people like you help me a lot by sending me information and kind messages saying how much you like my site. Keep up the good work!