Earth Day 2019

EARTH DAY - a day used by governments and big corporations to make pledges and announce sustainability measures.  The theme this year is ‘Protect our Species’.

Many say the hour is very very late for saving our Earth, and there is no better depiction than YouTube’s ‘Nature Is Speaking’ by Julia Roberts whose voice is Mother Nature. The most poignant crunch line being the words “I am prepared to evolve, are you?”.

Are we prepared to evolve? We all run around so busy with our daily consumptive lives, and rarely find the time to reflect on why the seasons happen, why the rains come and go, why the sunsets, why our oceans and rivers are so intrinsic to our own existence, why the forests are like gold dust. Earth Day has asked us to do just that and as Gaylord Nelson apply said “The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind”.

On Earth Day and every day, we can all do our bit and should reflect and celebrate all the “evolving” that is already going on. Although the world is full of negativity, celebrate those that take steps along the path to helping our Earth recover. 

Step 1 - Understanding and accepting we have a problem;
Step 2 - Speaking out;
Step 3 - Positive changes, however small, leading to each of us evolving.

David Attenborough says in his BBC “Call to arms” that “we are facing a manmade disaster on a global scale” and the collapse of our societies.  If we understand the threat we face the more likely we are to avoid a catastrophic future.  We have all grown to respect and trust Attenborough, and although his “call to arms” sounds devastating, he has a strong emphasis on hope, and clearly his emphasis is on a strong change in the next decade and the hope that we will save our planet, and our human culture.  He believes that we all have a moral duty to try and do this.

Looking at someone from the younger generation, Greta Thunberg at 16 years old and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, tells the youth that fighting climate change has to be a courageous movement, saying “this is something that will affect the future of our civilisation. It’s not just a movement. It’s a crisis and we must take action accordingly.” Her message is also about hope, youth and the truth.

Both of these movements are defending our planet, through social change, and are a shout out to political assistance from the “men in charge”.

We urge you to take time to embrace Mother Nature and our Earth again and remember that by joining us on safari, you have played or will play a vital role in helping conserve this environment, its wildlife, and much of this habitat.

With this year’s Earth Day theme being ‘Protect our Species’, we wanted to highlight two challenged species close to our hearts. See below

Gorillas

In 2020 we will be pioneering a safari in celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Specialised Safari Company - Ice, Apes and Lava Lakes. We have chosen to spotlight the Congo and to celebrate the success of those protecting an incredibly versatile and valuable biodiversity, whose path has never been an easy one.  Its success is the increased survival of some remarkable species. In celebrating our “20th Birthday” in the Congo, we celebrate the passion and success of those who have dedicated much of their lives to its success story and to fighting for the protection of this world heritage biodiversity. If you join us you will be in awe of this wilderness and its fragile but incredible landscape of wildlife, cultures, and topography.

I quote Jonathan Kingdon in his excellent Guide to African Mammals:
In central Africa more than 90% of Eastern Gorilla’s recent habitat is now fields and surviving populations live in lands that were, until recently, marginal for agriculture. The takeover of what remains has been delayed because of a dawning realisation that walking amongst wild gorillas is one of life’s greatest privileges and an experience for which people from all over the world will pay handsomely. Gorillas have morphed from terrible cartoons of sub-humanity into a living and noble expression of humanity’s roots in nature.

Peasants from one of the most brutal killing fields in history now enjoy a level of well-being and contact with the outside world that was almost unimaginable. They owe their new-found prosperity and access to education to dedicated naturalists and scientists who persevered, and sometimes died, to convince global audiences that allowing gorillas to go extinct would dishonour humanity.

Gorillas, whose demise was once assured, are now on the increase. People understand them better. Rangers, many of whom have given their lives, work tirelessly for protection of the species, and have made it the amazing place that it is, allowing Gorillas a sense of peace and stability again.

Giraffes

As you would expect, another species very close to our heart are the giraffe. Throughout the entire continent, giraffe numbers have plummeted in the last three decades– a state of affairs that has been referred to as a ‘silent extinction’.  The main pressures are fragmentation, civil unrest, habitat encroachment and bushmeat trade, all resulting in less than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa!

At Giraffe Manor although our main efforts focus on The Rothchild’s Giraffe, our reach is broader than that as we co-partner with organisations such as Giraffe Conservation, who have put much time and effort into credible research and education to illustrate this “silent extinction”. In communicating the issue, and getting help, they are working tirelessly, saving a variety of Giraffe species, primarily the West Africa Giraffe whose numbers are less than 40 as well as the Masai, and Reticulated seen while on safari with us. All these small organizations who have recognized a problem and are working towards a solution, need a shout out.

“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” - Ross Perot

To conclude, we celebrate you all, for being part of the active journey to evolve and help to protect our species. It is in our human nature to consume, ‘till now man has been up against mother nature, but now we are up against our own human nature to preserve what is left of our natural world.

Let’s face it, we are in need of change!