Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment is a very short, but powerful book by local BC artist and writer, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. This book came into work, and it’s one of my bosses favourites this year. We are often sending it to clients, friends, and sponsors of our projects because it has such a strong message: doing something, however small, is better than nothing at all. This story is not a new one, the hummingbird parable has been around for a while. Here is what the press release has to say:
The hummingbird parable, with origins in the Quechuan people of South America, has become a talisman for environmentalists and activists who are committed to making meaningful change in the world. In this inspiring story, the determined hummingbird does everything she can to put out a raging fire that threatens her forest home. The hummingbird—symbol of wisdom and courage—demonstrates that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
The parable itself is quite short, and takes only a few minutes to read, but you have to pause and admire the artwork of Yahgulanaas, who draws in a Haida Manga style which embodies the Native American origins of the parable yet makes it relateable to a much wider audience.
This courageous little book features artwork by internationally renowned artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. His distinct and lively Haida Manga style engages perfectly with this inspirational story that encourages every individual to act on behalf of the world’s limited and precious resources.
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas challenges native stereotypes through illustrative story telling. [He] takes traditional Haida stories and turns them into manga (Japanese-style comics).
The book includes two essays as well, that took me a while to read and absorb fully. In fact, I still feel like I haven’t full appreciated the words and wisdom of these essays and the individuals who wrote them.
The parable is embraced by two of the world’s most influential leaders: Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya who launched the Green Belt Movement, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has spoken widely about his commitment to preserving the environment.
Full disclosure: I read a copy of the book that we received in the office. This situation did not affect my review in any way, shape or form.