Kate on Conservation

Sharing a message — and a purpose!

Sharing a message of hope, but also of urgency and fear for our natural world is imperative to blogging in the field of conservation.

I’m always looking for new ways of sharing my thoughts, and it’s incredibly exciting when others with a shared sense of purpose reach out to me.

In the last month I was invited to give two interviews to two different international outlets! Gorilla Socks, based in the US, and Earth Art India were both kind enough to ask me a few questions about my career (and life!) in conservation to date. I’m very pleased to share some of my answers with you below…

Gorilla Socks — blog interview

I absolutely love Gorilla Socks! Their mission is to combine a sense of responsibility to support our planetdisadvantaged communities and the gorilla species with a love for colourful socks. Inspired by Dian Fossey’s remarkable life and legacy, they have pledged to donate to the charity at least 10% from the sale of each pair of socks. I was delighted to feature on their blog.

What sparked your interest in conservation? 

I loved animals, even as young child. I think from a combination of watching Disney’s The Lion King over and over and reading lots of books and encyclopaedias about wildlife. The first time I realized that wildlife needed our help was when I was about 6 years old. My mum adopted a tiger for me through Born Free Foundation and I started reading about the threats that tigers faced in the wild. I’d say that’s where my passion for conservation started.

Are there any individuals who have had the greatest impact on your values and beliefs on animal rights? 

My first wildlife hero was Virginia McKenna — her stirring speech in the film Born Free about Elsa the lioness being ‘born free, so she should live free’ resonated with me even as a kid. Later I would be obsessed with watching David Attenborough and Steve Irwin on television. As I began to understand more about the natural world as a teenager and in my early twenties it was Will Travers, Ian Redmond, Jane Goodall and the incredible wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering who most captured my imagination and cemented my ethics.

Congratulations on becoming the youngest Trustee of Born Free Foundation! Tell us more about what your work with the organisation. 

Thanks. I’ve been a trustee for just over a year now, and it’s still very much a learning curve for me. Of course, the Board have a hand in making or approving many of the decisions when it comes to financial and legal issues, but we’ve also been busy shaping the charity’s 5-year plan and devising the organisation’s main priorities. I’ve supported Born Free for many years, and it’s a great reassurance to see how things work behind the scenes. I’m proud to be involved with such a genuine, passionate and dedicated organisation, whom I know for a fact carry out all they do with the utmost integrity; from rescuing individual animals, to lobbying governments and tackling some of the biggest global issues such as wildlife trade and working on the ground to mediate in cases of human-wildlife conflict.

Read the full interview here.

Earth Art India — blog interview

It’s always exciting to hear that my blog has reached overseas, so when Earth Art India contacted me for an interview, I leapt at the chance to have a chat with them!

What message would you like to give to the youngsters about environment and wildlife?
I would like to tell the youth that they’re not alone in this fight to restore balance to the natural world. There’s a wonderful, relevant quote that I heard from Dr Jane Goodall a couple of years ago; she said: “I hate hearing that ‘we’ve not inherited the Earth from our parents, we’ve borrowed it from our children’; I hate it because it’s a lie. We’ve not ‘borrowed’, we have been stealing, and we’ve made so many mistakes and it’s not the young peoples’ job to put it right. We have to work with them to fix it. We have been stealing, and now we’re holding your hand so that together we can make it better.” I think I would echo that. The generations before you have let you down, but together, little by little, we can put it right.
How does it feel to work with National Geographic Kids?
It feels Exciting! Everyday is different and I have the honor of meeting so many conservation heroes and learning about so many incredible projects across the globe!
Which is your favorite assignment so far? Can you tell us something about it?
Last year I was fortunate enough to go on a press trip to Florida. It was amazing to discover the work of Mote Marine Labs while I was there and join them on a research vessel to tag spotted eagle rays and on a turtle nesting patrol. I really enjoyed writing about both of those stories!
According to you, what is the biggest threat to wildlife and why?
Definitely, Human greed and ignorance. We really have no need to use animal products such as ivory or rhino horn as status symbols, and there’s a lot of ignorance when it comes to consumerism — whether it is an animal agriculture, palm oil manufacturing, Chinese traditional medicine industry or superstitions.
How can an individual contribute to wildlife conservation?
The obvious things would be campaigning, lobbying MPs, signing petitions and sharing information with others. This is all made so much easier with the internet and social media! We all have the ability to inform others. But also, we can have a huge impact with our daily choices — considering what products we’re using; the clothing we wear and what we’re putting into our bodies considering whether its usage is harming the environment, if an animal is harmed in its production or if it’s contributing to a bigger, more sinister picture of exploitation — then we should look for more eco-friendly alternatives, this can have a huge impact! And yes of course, ditching single-use plastic too.

Read the full interview here.

Thank you so much to these brilliant organisations for sharing their platform. Only by working together can we make our voices louder in the so-called ‘blogosphere’! And on that note, don’t forget to check out my latest guest blog posts, for more fascinating stories and voices!

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Like this? Read more interviews from Kate on Conservation here.

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