I realised that I have been writing this blog for the past three months and ranting about various wildlife issues I haven't really set down WHY it means so much to me, and why I believe that one of the most important tasks ahead of the human race is to save and protect our wildlife.
Like so many I grew up with a love of animals, despite spending my childhood tucking my toes away from my overly-ferocious cat, I would spend hours pouring over magazines with picture of cute bunnies and plastering them all over my bedroom wall, my favourite stories were the "Animal Ark" series in which a young girl spends all her time rescuing injured animals, and my dream was to work as a vet. But also like so many as I grew older I realised that my disgust at needles and blood was perhaps too big to overcome for that profession! Going through school my choices changed and my decisions seemed to lead me away from what I loved most as a child - I went to University to study Drama.
As my three years of study came to an end I turned my mind to what I would do next... I enjoyed drama, and I did well in it, but was it really what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? Was I really passionate enough about it to face all the rejections and struggle to make it? When I really looked at it the answer was, sadly, no. I visited my Careers Adviser looking for a bit of direction but when she told me that a good career path was in becoming a PA I realised I was desperate for a big change. So I reverted back to something that I have always loved, animals! And I booked on for three months volunteering in Africa on a wildlife reserve (See 'Volunteering in Africa') thinking I could give myself a bit of time to think on my future. What I didn't realise was what this would awaken in me.
I have always been aware of endangered species and the fact that humans are pretty much single-handedly destroying our planet beyond repair, but I think that it was always slightly unreal for me. I was very detached from it and felt it didn't really affect me that much. But having the opportunity to see animals living in the wild (or as wild as can be within a game reserve fence) and to see hundreds of kilometres of land undamaged by human buildings I think I began to see what the world could be like if we took a big step backwards. I'm not saying that I think we should stop developing, or that we should knock down all our cities and live like Tarzan. But if we can learn to live alongside plants, trees and animals I think our planet would be a much happier place.
Our wildlife is fundamental to save not only because animals are beautiful and amazing, but because the entirety of nature is essential for our own survival. Every part of nature stitches together to create the world that we live in. Take, for example, the humble bee...
Bee's pollinate a huge percentage of our plants and trees. If bumblebees were to go extinct (and there is currently a severe decline in bees in the UK) we would have to self-pollinate thousands of crops, a job that would have to be done by hand with meticulous precision. Without the plants and trees that bees pollinate the amount of oxygen that they produce could in no way be replicated and the human race would simply suffocate.
So that is one small example - why then, is it so important to the human species to save animals like Tigers?
Tigers play an important role in a fragile ecological balance. Take, for example, the jungles of India. With tigers, who are at the top of the food chain, wiped out the numbers of deer, wild pig and antelope would explode. Excessive numbers of these herbivorous animals would ravage the vegetation. Without the vegetation smaller animals and insects could not survive. These would move out of the jungle to feed on crops in the surrounding farmlands thus destroying a vital food source for humans.
Our world is in a fragile balance and each part we destroy we are slowly destroying for ourselves. Yes it is unlikely to affect us any time soon, and many of us will be long gone before we see the final devastating effects. But we will see the effects, and they are happening all around us. You may not notice them immediately but they are there.
The worst part is we have the knowledge and technology to live sustainably - for years and years electric cars have been available and solar energy has been easily harnessable. But big money-making oil companies have stepped in the way of development because they fear the loss of their profits. It sickens me down to the core that people are willing to sacrifice our environment and futures for profit. We need to take some serious steps and force the hands of our governments to invest in our futures and the future of our wildlife.
Overall the most important part for me is not the impact on humanity - yes I am scared to run out of resources and the impacts it could have on my life. But even more scary to me is to live in a world of concrete and processed material - where everything is plastic and glass and animals live in cages. Our wildlife is beautiful, a phenomenon, and yet we throw it away with such ease and disrespect. I am disgusted and ashamed to be a part of this. That is why I want to save our wildlife.
I know that sitting down and writing a blog post twice a week isn't going to change much, but whilst I work my way up until I am able to do something real I hope that perhaps my post will make one or two people think differently. Maybe...