When it comes to conservation, I think of the wise words of David Attenborough: “I personally can have enough of people leaning out from television screens saying: ‘You lazy, irresponsible ignorant chap sitting there in your comfortable suburban home! Why don’t you care for this, or subscribe to that or go out and do the other?’ I actually think the best way of taking the message to the people is by showing them the pleasure; not necessarily by saying every time ‘you’ve got to do something about it,’ but by saying: ‘Look, isn’t this lovely?’ and the other bit follows.”
As the crucial 2011 climate change summit happens in Durban, and journalists in Africa show huge dedication to cover the event, as well as Greenpeace and Avaas trying to push forward the efforts to convince all the powers from all over the world that it is crucial to make a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and other damaging practises damaging what remains of the natural world, there is also a great truth: we only protect what we love. Modern culture and lifestyle, with many people living apart from nature and (especially in cities) having so little contact with it, has meant that we are losing that bond. And due to our dependence on oil, a lot of representatives from powerful countries are also in the pockets of the big oil companies which is stalling any efforts to come to an agreement.
So it’s more important than ever to go out and research climate change, or work out in exotic and wonderful places to protect endangered species (which every zoology student – including myself – dreams of). And equally vital for Greenpeace and as many other organisations as possible to campaign and highlight the damage we are doing to the planet. But almost as important is to show and document the beauty of nature. Art, crafts, music, photography and filming inspired by the natural world are all means to this end. A way to try and maintain a bond with nature and a respect and love for it. A way of saying: “Look, isn’t this lovely!”