“The future of wildlife is in our hands”
Today is the United Nation’s World Wildlife Day. World Wildlife Day is a day to celebrate wild plants and animals, but also, like every day, it is a day to work to conserve and protect them.
Here are a few simple things you can do to cultivate a love and respect for wildlife in yourself and the people, especially children, in your life. It seems natural and logical that love and respect will translate into conservation and protection efforts.
1) Spend time in nature, in the wild, and learn about the abundant life, cycles and systems around you. By spending time in nature you are likely to enjoy yourself, create memories and ultimately develop a sense of respect and understanding of your embeddedness in (and precarity of) the system of life on Earth. We are nature. It is not around us; it is us. Our actions have a direct impact on plants and animals, as they have direct impact on us. While I don’t think we should be self-motivated to protect wildlife, if that’s a reason that motivates you, seize on it and let it push you to conserve and protect, and to lighten your impact on other forms of life. We all share this one planet, but it is critical to understand that it is not just about sharing. From a selfish perspective, animals and plants play important roles in sustaining life on this planet, without them, their is no us.
2) Learn about and interact with plants and animals. Book learning and documentaries can be great, but there’s nothing like real life experience. Augment book learning with experience. Observe and interact with the plants and animals around you. You don’t need to go to a botanical garden or a zoo. Grass is plant life and when you look closely there is much to observe. Think of animals in the broad sense, you don’t need to track deer to observe the wild, insects are everywhere and we can learn much from them. All animals are important and each has something to teach us about our humanity. Ultimately : be creative and open minded in finding the wild around you. The wild could be a field of wildflowers on an abandoned city lot — tread lightly by the edge, observe and learn. The wild could be lifting up rocks at the public park to say hello to beetles and worms. The more children (and we adults) have real life experiences with living plants and animals the more we can empathize with them, the more we feel a part of their world, and us a part of theirs. Our interconnectedness becomes embodied.
3) Support the efforts of wild life conservation and protection agencies such as World Wild Life Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute. You can share their messages and follow them on social media. If you have spare dollars and pennies you can support them in a financial way. For the last three years Ro’s birthday present from us and her friends has been funding the protection animals through the Jane Goodall Institute and WWF (we do this through the EchoAge platform). This, by the way, is a great minimalist gift — an immaterial gift that doesn’t clutter your home but has a profound effect on others.
Since posting this last year, I joined my friend Rebecca Lane in launching the Global Guardian Project. The Global Guardian Project is a monthly digital publication for homeschoolers, educators and families who wish to learn more about the earth’s animals, plants and ecosystems, and how we can take simple actions to be positive changemakers in our communities, and as adults how we can raise a generation of global guardians. We are mindful to present information in a child-friendly and sensitive way, that does not incite fear and worry, but rather leaves children feeling empowered to play a part in stewardship.
Each month we release a new digital “learning capsule” featuring a country and its plants, animals, local activists, and culture. We also include art projects, maps and downloads, recipes, inspiring videos of kids doing awesome things to help animals and ecosystems, interviews with eco families and worldschoolers, and a podcast with an original (and fun!) meditation for children and families. For educators and homeschoolers (and super keen parents) we also include curriculum prompts based on STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, as well as vocabulary lessons.
If you are interested in learning more about this resource and the project, please leave a comment or send me an email. You can also visit the Global Guardian Project website. If you decide to sign up for a subscription, please use my discount code HIPPIEINDISGUISE to get 10% off, which makes the cost only $13.49 per month. You can cancel at any time, no questions asked. You can also purchase single issues if a subscription doesn’t interest you.
I’d love to hear what you do to help protect and conserve wild life and how to cultivate this same interest in others. Please share in the comments below.
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