Do we take nature conservation seriously enough?

As a South African, beauty surrounds me. I see it every day, yet I often wonder whether nature conservation is a big enough part of our dialogue. Nature conservation can be defined as treating the nature around with care making sure that we do not destroy our nature resources as we also rely heavily on them on daily basis. We use resources like Water, wood, oil, iron, coal on daily basis but do we ever consider sustaining them to last us for a lifetime? What happens when we run out of these natural resources that form part of our basic needs?

I believe the foundation for constructing strong environmental values starts young. This is why I feel questions like the ones I have stated above should be raised and raised at the early stages of our lives. We learn about cleanliness, language, behaviour at the early stages of our lives as they imparted on us by our parents or teachers when we get to crèche or school. Are our teachers or parents addressing nature conservation with us when we grow up? Are they fully informed about the importance of nature conservation in order to share the knowledge to the students and their children?

I don’t believe so.

South Africa has a number of thriving health, economic and lifestyle issues that are constantly enforced and brought forward. I feel nature conservation should also be amongst issues that should be highlighted as it is also important and is somehow linked to all the other issues we tackle on a daily basis.

Do we have enough people or organisations to empower us with knowledge about the importance of taking good care of our natural resources?

The famous Environmentalist Dave Pepler is a good example of people that believe in taking good care of our environmental and encouraging environmental care to the rest of the public. Dave Pepler is one of the people you can definitely vouch for when it comes to addressing environmental issues in the country. He has been awarded for his hard work and has presented a number of TV shows tackling environmental issues. He has traveled around the world sharing information about the importance of taking good care of our beautiful nature.

On his quest to ensure good care of our beautiful country, Dave has found another way to empower the youth about environmental care. Dave has launched an academy to empower the youth with information about taking care of the environment and leadership skills. This move addresses another issue I felt was a problem. We barely get encouraged at schools to study further for a qualification in Environmental Care. We are mostly punted to shift towards being Doctors, Accountants, Lawyer, IT specialist and a lot of other “fancy” job titles. Do not get me wrong, these jobs are also great but these professionals also need a conducive environment to work with and they also require some of the natural resources in order to do their jobs and have a decent life.

Dave Pepler’s AEL Academy will kick off in 2016 and the campus is located near one of the spots which showcases the beauty of our nature, which is the Orange River in the Northern Cape. The Academy is offering a year course which covers all the corners of Environmental care and Leadership with some practical activities to get up to.

Outside the formal education, there are organisations that are doing incredible work in the environmental conservation awareness field. Organisations like the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and World Wildlife Fund South Africa (WWFSA) that make it their mission to ensure that we take good care of our environment.

Are we doing enough? What can we do better?

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