Wildlife conservationists face an array of overwhelming obstacles. How do you maintain hope and optimism for the future, and what advice can you give young conservationists to continue being optimistic?
I am heavily burdened by this question. How do you maintain optimism in a world where species are going extinct faster than they are being discovered? How do you maintain hope when humanity’s population, consumption and apathy continue to grow without control? If Black Rhinos have gone extinct in West Africa, then how the hell can I expect to save the frogs? Unfortunately these dismal thoughts plague my mind often, which has left me with a dismal view of the future.
So, you know when life has a way of telling you something important? Like, “Hey! LISTEN UP… YOU NEED TO CHECK YOURSELF! It’s about to get REAL.” Yesterday was one of those days.
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jane Goodall and ask her this exact question in a hotel meeting room in San Francisco, California. This meeting was arranged as a special event for the Emerging Leaders in Wildlife Conservation alumni and current participants. There were nine of us in attendance and about 50 other individuals were on a call listening to the question and answer session.
Her answer? Simply perfect, so young conservationists… take note! But, before Dr. Goodall answered my question, she pointed out the fact that she is asked this quite frequently. Dr. Goodall travels 300 days a year in order to spread the message of peace, compassion and the conservation of wildlife around the world. Everywhere she goes people want her to address or speak about their specific issue, from the impacts of climate change to species going extinct… she is surrounded by the atrocities of the world. However, the dedicated and passionate individuals she meets and what these people have accomplished constantly amaze and inspire her. The key point here is that she chooses to focus on the positive efforts of many, despite being exposed to the ever-present pains of the world. She is able to shift her perspective and align herself with what good she observes and experiences. She also spoke of the incredible power of social media. The viral nature of positivity has spread around the world and so much has been accomplished as a result.
Her answer definitely left a positive impact on me and it truly gave me a reason for hope. Hopefully it can do the same for you.
Mad respect for Laura Gruber for having this photo taken. What a moment! Read about the first time I met Dr. Goodall here: http://wp.me/p2VRVz-1Z