Why conservation?

I’m lying in bed listening to the rain hit the thatch of the hut. The dampness has permeated into my pillow, not from direct contact, just from the air being so saturated with moisture. It’s early, just before six am, breakfast isn’t for another two hours or so. I had big plans for this blog. I was going to write about my passion for sharks, or about fish consumption and how it correlates to brain health, but my mind is circling something one of our facilitators said yesterday, why conservation?

I generally embrace this kind of confronting question. I usually have lots of discussions and reasons sitting in the back of my mind. I can talk at great lengths about plastic pollution, overfishing or coral bleaching, but it seems like a more intimate question today. Now that I’m here, sitting in a classroom, in the Philippines. I’ve given up a lot to pursue this goal, walk this path. Where is it going to take me? How is it all going to play out?

I could say that I’ve been diving around Asia, and the world really, and the lack of fish I see, has become alarming. Or the algae slowly taking over beautiful coral gardens, or even about doing safety stops through garbage. I could go on about filling my BCD pockets with trash or sobbing into my screen when I see pictures of animals hurt by our carelessness.

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I think about archeologists finding our fallen and buried cities thousands of years from now. Knowing we were too lazy, or narcissistic or apathetic to save ourselves. I think about my father calling me idealistic in a patronizing, rather than supportive way. And I want to prove them wrong. In Jane Goodall’s inspiring words; there is still so much worth fighting for. And I have some fight in me and I want to go down swinging.

I anticipate that the frustration will wear on me as much as it will fuel me. That I’ll need to meet people where they are, while emphasizing the urgency of changing our ways. That feet dragging of governments on every level and in every country, will question my election choices, my level of commitment and of course, my patience.

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I’ve always loved animals and have been a vegetarian almost my whole life. So I’ll think about  turtles, and birds and sharks to drive me forward. I want to inspire and educate people to make changes to  their lives, their diets, their vacation plans. I want them to be as passionate about saving the planet and it’s creatures and habitats, as I am. I want people to really understand what they are putting at risk.

I’ve made the leap into the unknown. I’ve made the choice to get involved, get my hands dirty and confront the lifestyle I’m accustomed to…and I hope you’ll join me.

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