Last week we published the The Living Planet Report: the scariest thing to hit the internet this October. We were inundated with responses from community members, desperately looking for ways to take action. Activist, Mara Naboisho affiliate and friend of Collectively, Stine has some thoughts.
Green-fatigue, eco-apathy, sustain-blinds, whatever you want to call it, I have it.
The “Living Planet Report” published by WWF last week which reflected an unprecedented loss of wildlife pushed me into a downward spiral of fear, denial, grief and anger. These numbers felt wrong. I wanted to do something about it. But what? What can be done?
I visited the WWF website to see what they were asking people to do and was gently guided towards the “share” button. Done. Report shared with my 387 twitter followers.
It still didn’t feel I had done enough to stop the expected 67% decline in wildlife populations by 2020. I wanted to do more. But what? I tweeted at WWF asking “what can I do???” and after a couple of nail biting minutes, they replied: “sign our petition”.
A click through showed signing meant they could use my name “to show governments across the UK that I want them to take ambitious action to protect our environment at home and overseas”.
Sure, I’d sign up to that. Still, and despite my deep respect for the powers of WWF, years and years of political disregard for the natural world makes it hard to believe that an online petition will be enough to convince governments that it’s time to act. After a summer of political turmoil and a Trump about to take centre-stage, I just don’t think that we can solve the climate crisis with a click or a share.
After a summer of political turmoil and a Trump about to take centre-stage, I just don’t think that we can solve the climate crisis with a click or a share.
So, if you, like me, are desperately in need of examples of ways to directly contribute to the safeguarding of wildlife and their natural habitats, then read on. I’ve found one.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy is a 50,000 acres nature conservancy located in Masai Mara, at the southern tip of Kenya. Mara Naboisho Conservancy borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of the natural wonders of the world and home to the largest collection of large mammals on the planet. Despite only making up 0.1% of Africa’s landmass, the Masai Mara region is home to 40% of its wildlife.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy was established in 2010, following many years of close collaboration between Basecamp Explorer, an award-winning responsible tourism operator that once hosted the Obama family, and representatives of the Maasai community.
The conservancy piloted a model for nature conservation that not only protects wildlife, but offers social and financial security to the local people. The land is leased directly from more than 550 Maasai families, who each month receive a set lease fee into their individual bank accounts.
The lease fee is generated through low-impact, responsible tourism; a business model that provides employment and training opportunities for the Maasai. With more than 90% local staff, Basecamp Explorer questions the traditional safari camp model where white “Mzungus” dressed in khaki from top to toe serve as Camp Managers, while the local Maasai, who know the land better than the back of their hand, are Askaris – night guards.
In the 6 years since its establishment, Mara Naboisho Conservancy has offered a safe haven for wildlife. Despite an alarming increase in poaching, there hasn’t been a single incident of elephants poached inside Mara Naboisho. This is much due to the direct benefit of Mara Naboisho for the local communities. If local people get to experience how wildlife tourism can provide a secure income for their families, they will help protect them. It’s the only sensible thing to do.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy is only one part of a much bigger puzzle. It was instrumental in setting up the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancy Association (try to say that fast 10 times), a membership association of all the Mara Conservancies. Now we’re talking scale and political leverage.
Despite an alarming increase in poaching, there hasn’t been a single incident of elephants poached inside Mara Naboisho.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy depends on tourism to survive, which means that you and I have a direct part to play in their survival. We can contribute by sharing and liking, but also through having an unforgettable safari experience.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy is only one example of the projects and people out there committed to working #ForOurPlanet. In a time of doom and gloom, we need as many positive stories and good examples as we can get.
For more information, click the below.
Mara Naboisho: http://maranaboisho.com/
Basecamp Explorer: http://basecampexplorer.com/