Douglas Adams is one of my heroes.
Growing up reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and all the ensuing sequels, shaped (or fit) my sense of humor and personality.
Shortly after I moved to Davis I was watching public access TV to avert the loneliness and clicked upon a lecture filmed at UCSB a week or so prior to Adams' (early, tragic) death.
He reads and retells stories from his non-fiction account of traveling the world in search of endangered species Last Chance to See. Adams and his traveling companions try to catch glimpses of animals from a New Zealand flightless parrot called the Kakapo to the now (tragically, sadly) "functionally extinct" Yangtze river blind dolphin the Baji.
Everyone should read this book. If you have read it, listening to the lecture and hearing some of the stories in Adams' own voice is wonderfully touching.
But it is the last 10 or 15 minutes of the lecture that really get me.
Adams talks about the incredible simultaneous tragedy and hope humans find themselves in, of how we've come so far to being able to rectify some of our mistakes in relation to Earth's other inhabitants, and how inevitable it seems we'll just keep going as we have been, as is in our nature to do.
You can almost hear his voice cracking.
Parrots the Universe and Everything:
The lecture is over an hour long, so you might want to switch over to youtube and watch it full-screen, or just listen.