On March 3rd the United Nations World Wildlife Day 2017 was celebrated with the “Listen to the young voices” campaign. And although the day has come and went, I thought the message of this year’s theme was incredibly important. Over the years I’ve grappled with how one can make a difference for animal welfare and the environment we all live in, as a single individual. Sometimes eco-conscious efforts may seem futile, and it can be hard to see how you folding your milk cartons will make any difference in the long run, when on a global scale new oil rigs are going up, and deforestations are happening. For years, it left me arguing that since individual people on their own couldn’t make a difference, why bother? The way I was going to help the environment was by becoming a vet, and that was way into the future, and nothing I did now could make an impact.
That’s where I was wrong.
Every day we’re faced with little decisions about our environment. Some small, like recycling our bottles and cans instead of throwing them in the garbage, some that come natural, like caring for our pets or the birds in our yard, and some that take more effort, like choosing organic or locally sourced food when going to the grocery store. Perhaps some of you have even made the more substantial sacrifice of practicing vegetarianism or veganism. Whatever choices you’ve made, most likely you’ve been inspired or motivated by someone you admire, whether it be a parent or a social media influencer. That’s where this year’s Wold Wildlife Day comes in. On the official UN World Wildlife Day website they state;
“Given that almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24, vigorous efforts need to be made to encourage young people, as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife.”
In this day and age, we have the opportunity to reach a global audience, and our voices can span across the globe if we want to. And we can also create major waves in our local communities. By engaging and participating in some of the many efforts listed on the website, and I’ll include links and videos below, we can not only make a difference for ourselves, but inspire more people to do the same. It can be a ripple effect with lasting consequences for the future, creating future leaders and policy makers with an ingrained sense of eco-consciousness, and a respect for animal lives and welfare, as a part of who they are, and how they’re shaped by the society.
I’ve included a link to the campaign website HERE, and have embedded some of their videos below, and I highly recommend you take the time to watch them.