Can We Stop Destroying the Planet?
500,000; 115,000; 117,000; 20,000; 6,000. Can you guess what these are? These are rough population figures for elephants, hippos, giraffes, lions, and African wild dogs across Africa today. To give you some perspective, about a century ago, there were 5 million elephants roaming the continent, about half a million African wild dogs, and 200,000 lions. Giraffes and hippos have similarly seen dramatic declines in their numbers. All over Africa and the world, wild species — mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects — are falling at rates faster than ever before.
This has been called the sixth great extinction, and it is already very much underway, as explained by the conservationist accompanying us on my recent trip to Okavango Delta in Botswana where I went to reset in nature.
The reason? Wildlife is threatened by everything from habitat loss and poaching to climate change and conflict with humans due to change induced by us. We have become adept at creating artificial barriers of separation between ourselves and nature, even when nature shows us time and time again what we do to it we do to ourselves. Wildfires, catastrophic floods, drought, pandemics — all of these result when we destroy the wild, upsetting a delicate balance that for centuries has helped keep us alive and celebrate life.
To live in harmony with nature, we need to live in harmony with ourselves. We all have the ability to contribute in small ways to conserving our planet — we just need to expand our horizons and figure out how.