"Conservation is no walk in the park"
When I started my degree three years ago, the 3 main thoughts on conservation that sprang to mind were as follows:
The human race is going to be the planets demise
Everyone and anyone that is involved in any kind of hunting needs some serious self-reflection time
A few simple changes in law here and there is the solution to all our natural worlds problems.
The first point still kinda remains. I think it’s safe to say that we (some more ignorantly than others)are doing a great job at fucking our planet up…if I may be so blunt. Of course there are individuals that are of exception to this, but I think it’s safe to say that at a whole, we can be generalised as pretty destructive species. With that being said I do think that before a huge natural phenomenon see’s the human race off we will destroy ourselves. Of course, that’s a very pessimistic view to have for someone hoping to ‘Patch’ up the world, but it’s a truthful one at the very least. However, with being said for those that are trying to make a change, I commend and urge you to carry on;things would be a lot worse without you. I don’t believe that despite the fact we have almighty challenge in front of us when it comes to reversing and halting more damage to our world, that we should completely give up and fail to try. There has been a huge boom in people realising the importance of taking care of our natural world, and as a result some wonderful success stories….so things are changing! Even the smallest of changes that people are making are coming together to have a global positive impact for both the environment and wildlife, and who knows how much time all of those efforts have already bought us. With new people joining the fight to save our world every day, we are continuously building a more harmonious relationship with the nature to which we owe our very existence.
Hunting. I think this is one of the areas my degree has impacted me the most, and one that I feel makes me slightly more controversial when it comes to conservation. I’m no longer totally against hunting *gasps from people who sitting there thinking “you call yourself an animal lover?!”* Trust me I know, it’s not something I thought I’d ever be saying. However, I do want to make it VERY clear that it doesn’t mean I condemn hunting across the board. Hunting for management purposes that is controlled, done in the efforts of conservation via a well-researched and developed management plan, and at minimal distress to the animal as possible is something I can accept. In fact I’d go as far to say it’s necessary. To explain this a little more I have a post lined up that If like me (pre-degree) you think there is absolutely no excuse for hunting of any kind, I really encourage you to read. I think it may change a few perceptions for some of you and give you a much clearer understanding of what I’m trying to say here. So please keep an eye out for that as I loved writing it! However, as I wrap things up with this point, I would also like to add for clarity that I do not in any way shape or form agree with unregulated illegal poaching or blood sport hunting for pleasure or anything else of that kind, that is merely carried out for an individual’s narcissistic pleasure. (e.g. fox hunting).
And lastly….the law. My goodness wildlife law is one hell of a complex thing. To add to this, even if changing the law were as simple as someone with authority writing it down on paper, it wouldn’t necessarily resolve all of our problems. Protecting a species isn’t as simple as putting a ban on all hunting of it or cutting down its habitat. There are so many factors to be considered in order to make it a sustainable, viable change. Tied up with the huge amount of corruption that still occurs despite existing wildlife laws, it makes protecting animals even more of a challenge. I plan to delve deeper into this in future posts as it was real eye opener for me whilst researching certain topics during writing my dissertation.
Now with all that being said what has my degree taught me all in all? The world’s biggest problem is the lack of the big B. and no I’m not talking about a huge flying insect… I’m talking about BALANCE. The expansion of the human race, and the death of so many species and ecosystems at our hands has completely thrown out the worlds balance. The Lion King demonstrates this for us perfectly at a much smaller scale. At the start of the movie we are serenaded by Elton as all the animals gather around pride rock, and we see a full ‘circle of life’. Everything is fine and dandy until we witness the heart-breaking moment of Mufasa’s death (I know you cried… me too) and scar takes over pride rock. Now skip ahead past the hakuna matata number and we see pride rock as a grey and gloomy place, the animals have gone, and the lion pride is starving. Why? Scars greedy ass destroyed the ‘circle of life’. He tipped the scales out of balance. If you haven’t yet got the metaphor, I’m saying we as humans are Scar making the world a dreary place with our greed.
So, what does conservation now mean to me? it isn’t about banning the killing of every single animal and never cutting down another tree or going back to living like nomads screaming in the face of anyone who touches plastic. It’s about right here and now, taking a look at our lives and ourselves as individuals to collectively make changes to restore the balance. It’s about educating ourselves, our families and friends, and global communities in order to create a world-wide unison of people understanding the impact of their actions. It’s about valuing our natural world and showing every form of it the same amount of compassion and respect that we desire to be shown to ourselves. It’s about supporting the individuals who dedicate their time to conduct research, take part in practical hands on conservation, fight for a cause using the loop hole filled law that currently stands to protect our wildlife. Conservation is no walk in the park. It’s a brutal fight that requires standing back up with every huge knock down. Can we save the planet and ensure an indefinite future? Probably not. But can we ensure that we don’t end up living in a derelict world full of nothing but gloom and greed? Yes. So please, celebrate the successes and embrace greener changes. And don’t give up, for as soon as we do it’s not just our natural world that’s doomed. We may not be able to totally turn back the clock and reverse all damage, but we can certainly stop it in its tracks to give our world the chance to flourish once again.