Saturday, March 19, 2016

Little things count: inspiration from leading conservationists

Sometimes it can feel like you work and work and work towards something to produce something that will effect about as much change as a drop in the ocean. But drops in the ocean matter.

When it comes to animal welfare, conservation, and protecting habitats, often it’s the combined impact of a bunch of people consciously deciding to do little things that make a big difference.

Over the next fortnight I am working to finalise two major projects in veterinary ethics with some incredible colleagues. For the past several months there have been late nights, early mornings, dining al-desko, too much sitting and square-eyes from screen-gazing. Fortunately Phil has managed to sleep through most of this process and thinks that me sitting around at home is the best use I can possibly make of my time (with the possible exception of me driving him around).

I don’t know about my colleagues (our time for socialising is non-existent) but I’ve been asked on many occasions, “why bother?”, “does anyone really care about ethics?” and “for every time I do the right thing there are systematic wrongs being committed on a grand scale - I've stopped caring."

So it was heartening to read the words of Jane Goodall in Saving Wild: Inspiration from 50 LeadingConservationists (edited by Lori Robinson), that
“So many people do nothing, become apathetic, because they feel helpless or hopeless. Yet billions of small ethical choices made each day will move us in the direction of a more sustainable lifestyle and help to heal the planet.” – Jane Goodall, xiii
SavingWild is a collection of vignettes by conservationists discussing how they maintain inspiration and motivation when confronted with a tidal-wave of nay-saying, dismaying outcomes and disappointment. On one hand its about conservation, but many of these lessons have a broader application. The vignettes are really short - its the kind of book you could devour while you're commuting or read one section every night before bed.

My copy has been underlined, dog-eared and Post-It noted to pieces, because it contains a number of other gems. If you want to find out more about the book, here’s the link.

Happy weekending!