With so much going on in today’s world, and the negative stories constantly pushed to the forefront, it can be easy to lose focus on the good and become overwhelmed by the bad.
Every time I start to feel like my conservation efforts aren’t going anywhere, or that I’m fighting a losing battle, the stories of these three women pick me up. Their unwavering determination and commitment inspires me to keep fighting for change. While they each have their own focuses, they share the same overarching goal – a healthy and happy planet for all.
Dr Jane Goodall – Primatologist, Anthropologist, Author, Lecturer
“The best way to overcome apathy is to actually take some action, to throw yourself into making a difference.”
This incredible human fought all odds stacked against her as a young, white female in the 50s and pursued her dream to live amongst the chimpanzees in Africa. A massive achievement in itself. Her 55-year study of the social behaviours and interactions of chimps has contributed greatly to the way we view primates today, as has her activist work. The legacy she leaves behind will be remembered for years to come.
Jane’s 2017 Brisbane live talk was the best ticket purchase I’ve ever made. I highly recommend seeing her in person if you get the chance! And definitely watch her documentary Jane, on National Geographic’s website.
Dr Sandeun “Lek” Chailert – Wildlife Conservationist, Lecturer, Founder of Elephant Nature Park
“A lot of people still believe that animals and humans are at different levels of importance. This is the war between humans and animals. The only way to bring humans and animals closer together is education, spreading the word and speaking more on the side of animals.”
Another truly brave woman, Lek has risked her life many times to save elephants in Thailand. Being raised by parents in the circus industry, she saw the horrendous amounts of torture elephants and other animals were subjected to – for the sake of entertainment – and chose to rally against it. She opened Elephant Nature Park in the early 90s and has since been working tirelessly to convert trekking camps to peaceful sanctuaries and educate travellers to choose ethical tourist activities.
An American journalist recently covered Lek’s story in the documentary Love and Bananas. You can watch it on iTunes, Stan or buy the DVD from here.
Dr Sylvia Earle – Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, Chief Scientist, Author
“If others had the opportunity to witness what I have seen in my lifetime, from thousands of hours underwater, I would not seem like a radical at all…”
Growing up with the Gulf of Mexico as her backyard, Sylvia spent a lot of her young life exploring the ocean. Since the early 1960s, she’s led a number of groundbreaking oceanographic discoveries and published over 100 scientific papers. In 1990, she was the first female to be appointed Chief Scientist for the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association). She later turned down the title to continue fighting for the ocean freely as a public citizen.
Her most renowned work is Mission Blue, which aims to ignite public support for a “global network of marine protected areas to save and restore the ocean”. You can watch the Mission Blue documentary on Netflix, or find out more here.
Who inspires you? Please comment or send me a message so I can add them to my list!