The Loneliness Of Advocating For Wildlife Conservation

Image Credit: Huffington Post Images

If there is something I have learned this year; it is that advocating for wildlife conservation and environmentally-friendly eating is a lonely undertaking.

Many friends and family listen, but seem not to "hear." Articles I write with THE FACTS get a mere few reads.

When I encourage patients to eat more plant-based, for health--and to prevent or alleviate disease--(I don't even bring up the environment), they look at me like, "Are you crazy?"

And, most colleagues, who I feel should have an understanding or knowledge about environmental issues (I work in the medical field) seem completely ambivalent.

Thus, I FEEL VERY ALONE in this fight.

I feel like no one gets me, or understands my passion.
No one understands my want, MY NEED, to protect, advocate, and "shout" for wildlife conservation.

They seem only to care about what affects them, personally, at that moment. They cannot foresee or understand the detrimental future that lay before us.

Yet, I know there are other people out there who are JUST as passionate as I am. The makers of the movies "The Cove" and "Racing Extinction", the Oceanic Preservation Society, is one such group.

I know that Sylvia A. Earle and Carl Safina feel the same way. I've read their books!

I've even had the pleasure and fortune of speaking with some of the great minds on conservation, dolphin and orca intelligence, and nutritional-sustainability.

But, I tell you, it is challenging. It is difficult. It is lonely to advocate for something that no one immediately around you seems to care about.

What got me started in my quest for wildlife conservation was the movie, "The Cove." An expose on the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan. That night, and for weeks after watching the movie I was so sad, I would randomly cry when an image of a dolphin popped into my mind's eye.

I would follow and update myself daily on the dolphin hunts (They run from September 1 - February 28) in the hopes that if I was vigilantly watching, maybe, just maybe it would be a "Blue Cove Day." That maybe, just maybe, no dolphins would be found, and lives would be spared.

I felt so helpless and hopeless to do anything. I don't know how the cove monitors or cove guardians live-record what is happening.

It seems too much to bear.

I know why they go; and, if I summon up enough courage, I might consider going some day too. The go so they can be the eyes and ears of what is happening. They go to record and show the world. They go to be a source of strength for the dolphin lives that have been shattered, ripped apart, and stolen too early from this Earth. So, I do what I can, and donate to those groups, to support their work; and I write.

I write about what I know. I write about what I've watched, live. I write about what I've read. I write, I write, I write. I write so that people can read and learn about what is happening.

I write so that the dolphins, or the whales, or the elephants, or the rhinos, or...fill in the blank...animal has a voice.

Because, to be silent is to perpetuate the killing.

If I instead make noise, maybe just maybe I will educate one more person today, who will, like me, become tomorrow's great advocate.

I volunteer to assist organizations in what I do best. Write or Speak.

But, it is and it can be lonely.

Fortunately, I was recently able to reach out to someone else; someone who has even been to Taiji. I was able to commiserate with her about her experience there; about how we both came to love this work-of advocating. Her story was so similar to mine. And, her experience in Taiji was not so dissimilar from my experiences with climate change and food security in Ethiopia for my doctoral research.

So, while people near me may not "GET ME" or understand my passion, it's OK.

I mean, it hurts, it's lonely, it's challenging, and can be demoralizing.

But, with the Taiji, Japan dolphin slaughters set to resume on the first of September, less than 2 weeks from now, it will be nice to have someone, a shoulder to lean on (aside from my husband's very wet one), to discuss the situation with; because, these slaughters should NEVER be allowed to happen.

Yes, different people have different things that motivate them or call them to action, and I probably won't understand theirs.

But, I've definitely found mine.

My motivation is wildlife. My motivation is to see an end to brutal, callous, needless, and greedy mass murders of sentient, aware, empathetic, loving animals.

If I can touch even one more person and his or her sense of empathy, their sense of humanity, and basic decency, then perhaps one-by-one we can guide humans and conservation in the right direction.

In a way, it has been a journey, an evolution to get to this point. I've also been fortunate enough to be given a voice on blogs such as this, Huffington Post and Planet Experts.

Every day, in my spare time, I find my passion, my need and desire to educate only gets stronger; and as it does, my community of advocates and friends grows.

I guess it's true what they say, "Anything worth having, (or doing), isn't easy."

Sadly, in less than two weeks, the Japanese dolphin slaughters will begin. It will be difficult. It will be emotional. It will be lonely.

I do what I do, I write, I donate, I volunteer, because: "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it" - Robert Swan OBE