There is hope.
Five years ago, I set out to create a small nonprofit that would provide an education hub about the plight of endangered species around the world and maybe even raise a few dollars here and there to help with conservation projects in the field.
Now here we are five years later, and I’m amazed at the growing organization SAFE Worldwide has turned into. I’m even more astounded at the extraordinary people I have met on this incredulous journey. You see I didn’t necessarily start out being an Eco and wildlife warrior. Yes, I was passionate about wildlife. My husband and I donated to multiple conservation organizations. I was just as horrified as the next person when I saw those sad commercials about animals being exploited or harmed.
However, until then, that was the extent of my involvement. Go forward five years and I am as resolute as any field conservationist, scientist or dedicated volunteer that will stop at nothing to save the planet, its wildlife, its forests and support the calls to action they know are critical to our planet’s survival.
And how did that happen? It was by watching, listening, reading, and learning from scientists and people in the field about what we are doing to our planet. It’s seeing first-hand the effects of wildlife poaching and the grave impact of the illegal bush meat trade. It’s about not being able to put my head in the sand because that would be the easy thing to do. And that has turned me into a person who gave up any form of retirement to become a deeply committed steward of the planet that is dedicated to being part of the solution for climate change, deforestation, and conserving wildlife threatened by humanity’s shortcomings.
Actually, it is your problem. Because it’s everyone’s problem.
When this topic comes up, I often hear “it’s not my problem”, “what can I do?’ or worse, I meet people who are in complete indifference on the topic because they don’t believe they can play a role in the solution or that the problem is as bad as it is portrayed. Often, I hear “I’m too old to do anything about it”. I remind them of people like David Attenborough who is still narrating documentaries and doing speaking engagements at the age of 95 and Jane Goodall who is energizing hundreds of thousands of young people through her roots and shoots program at the young age of 87 years old.
And then there is the generation of young leaders like Malala Yousafzai, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez and Greta Thunberg, to name a few, who are leading the charge as youthful activists committed to creating a healthier and better world and holding governments accountable.
It’s critical to understand that not everyone needs to be a Greta or Jane to have an impact. SAFE Worldwide’s own volunteers are an example of amazing human beings committed to change and dedicated to making a difference for this world. I’ve never been more honored to be part of such a young and dynamic group of volunteers who are all willing to give a part of themselves so that we can create a better world for generations to come.
To those people who say they’re too old to do anything, or to those who turn their heads away from the threats facing the planet, I urge you to take a stance, make the time, and remind yourself that you have wisdom and knowledge and for some, financial resources to offer. More importantly, you have a voice and the ability to vote to create true change. May I even be so bold as to say that no one has the right to ignore what is happening to our planet and we have all had a part to play in this climate crisis that we are facing and that as long as we’re alive, we have a duty to re-create a new world where we no longer seek to conquer the planet and instead commit to nurturing every aspect of its beauty, diversity and evolutionary perfection.
So as long as I live, I’ll be committed to be part of the solution. I will create hope and a vision for a better planet. I will be one voice, amongst many and I will do all I can to provide a healthier blue and green planet for generations to come.