Jane Goodall's masterclass teaches valuable lessons in conservation

Jane Goodall’s masterclass: 3 lessons on driving change

Since starting this blog a little less than a year ago, I’ve been lucky enough to speak to some incredibly inspiring people that live a life with impact and have learned a lot from them. But I am also keen to understand if there are general rules that I (and others) can apply to drive meaningful change.

One recent experience that has pushed my thinking in this direction, was taking Dr. Jane Goodall’s masterclass on conservation.

A scientist turned activist

Jane Goodall is probably most well-known for her work with chimpanzees, starting in the 1960s. While observing chimps in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, she discovered – amongst other things – that the animals were picking leaves of sticks and used those modified sticks to fish termites from a nest.

Goodall’s discovery was ground-breaking since scientists up until then thought that only humans were capable of toolmaking. Her insights re-shaped the definition of man and our perception of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

In the 1970s Goodall realised that to protect chimpanzees and their habitat from increasing deforestation and destruction, she needed to get out of the forest and spread her message. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute and since then has been working as a tireless advocate for the environment, social justice, poverty alleviation and peace.

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Australian bushfire crisis Kangaroo Island

Australian bushfire crisis: how you can help long-term

The past months have been incredibly tough. Australia is fighting an unprecedented bushfire crisis which has burned across an area of at least 10.7 million hectares. Over 1,700 homes have been destroyed and 23 people lost their lives.

Over 1 billion animals are estimated to have died in a country where over 1,800 native plant and animal species had already been at risk of extinction. Conservationists fear that we may have lost some of them forever. Meanwhile, the bushfires are still burning across vast areas with no real end in sight.

Each day seems to bring more bad news. And while there are countless stories of incredible generosity and community, it’s still hard not to feel overwhelmed and helpless at times. Donating to causes that provide immediate support and relief is fantastic and vital, but I have spoken to many people who still felt they were not doing enough.

Managing the emergency right now still must be the priority. Yet the reality is that we will have to deal with the fallout from the current fires for many years to come – long after the haunting images will have disappeared from our newsfeed. This blog posts provides some ideas on how you can help long-term.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but I will keep adding to it over time. If you have any other ideas on how to get involved, please add them in the comments below or drop me a line for it to be added to the main article.

Donate your skills to those affected by the Australian bushfire crisis

You might not have the money to support the relief efforts financially, but you might have the time and skills to help where it’s needed the most. What’s more, lending an active hand to bushfire victims will feel a lot more productive than continuously refreshing your social media feed.

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Tasmanian Devils

Saving Australian wildlife from extinction

Hayley Shute has her hands full as we are about to start our chat. A couple of koalas need her attention before we get the chance to talk about her work at Aussie Ark, a wildlife conservation organisation dedicated to protecting Australia’s endangered species. “That’s one of the things I love most about my job: you never know what they might spring on you next”, she says with a laugh.

With the koalas safely moved, Hayley shares her love for Australian wildlife conservation with infectious enthusiasm. “Most people get so excited about lions and elephants, and other exotic animals from far-flung locations, but we are so lucky to have so many unique animals here in Australia – and we need to do much more to protect them”, she asserts.

As the curator at Aussie Ark, Hayley Shute is working to protect enadangered Australian wildlife
Hayley Shute is the curator at Aussie Ark.

As the curator at the non-for-profit organisation she’s working to save some of Australia’s most vulnerable species from extinction and to educate the public about the need to protect them. “Unfortunately, many people have never heard about some of our most threatened animal species”, she says. “And the less awareness there is, the harder it is to secure their future.”

Saving the Tasmanian Devil

Aussie Ark is a project-based Australian wildlife conservation organisation founded by Australian Reptile Park owners John and Robyn Weigel, and conservationist Tim Faulkner.   

Australian wildlife: Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is endangered because of a contagious form of facial cancer.

In 2011 they launched Devil Ark with the aim to establish an insurance population of the endangered Tasmanian Devil on the Australian mainland. The iconic marsupial – that now can only be found in Tasmania in the wild – is under threat because of a particular nasty form of cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

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