I first heard the roar of a lion when I was about six. It was the same day I first saw elephants. I was too young to spell ‘fear’, so I felt none and smiled. I even laughed at the incredible sound and the sight of that huge maned lion as he turned to us and gave it everything he had. But it was probably the smell of the air, that petrichor, of rain on the
Earth that made me fall in love. With Earth.
That same feeling of intoxicating joy washes over me whenever we land at Duba Plains, and the wild sage almost burns the rim of my nostrils. Or the confusing melody of a million wildebeest just over the horizon on their way to Mara Plains and Mara Nyika. Africa is the birthplace of humans, home, the place we are most at ease, where the rhythms just seem to resonate. It is why Beverly and I first started researching wildlife and then turned to filming it for National Geographic, and ultimately why we started Great Plains Conservation, all to, quite simply, celebrate Earth.
As Earth Day celebrations begin, we have a new video for you. It is about that appreciation and understanding that we live in this ‘house’, this one common home we all share despite our differences. Earth is the one thing we all have in common.
But like our own careers, this piece speaks to more than just a celebration. Is it enough to revel in Earth’s wonders? Or do we have to ‘fix it’ as the words say? Why is it so hard for us to agree on what is obviously good or bad? Surely by now, we should intuitively know that flying across the world with guns to kill elephants for fun, or capturing their babies to ship them off to China, or killing giraffe, smoking pangolins to release their scales easily, pouring poison into the Namibian wilderness to extract its fossil fuels, hunting the last polar bears, planting fields of water-hungry avocado pear fruit in elephant corridors while Maasai children struggle to carry their family’s water for hours each day is all on the wrong side of ‘fixing it?’
The list is depressingly long, but there is incredible Hope that bubbles up once we agree to help, do the right thing, and put out the fire burning in the kitchen of our home: Earth.
‘Hope’ because we can collectively speak out. We can support the work that others take on, that we take on via Project Ranger or the Great Plains Foundation. Support others like the one we recently came across, where a young girl in Florida gathered her friends, formed an NGO called Surface 71, and then went out and collected bags and bags of trash off the beaches. After that, establishing Reuse campaigns for local businesses and, in so doing, sent a strong message about Earth’s care. Young people around the world get it. They need to take charge now, to clean, save, protest and speak out…
And therein is the most remarkable great Hope.
This Earth Day, we pledge to help fix it, not to try, but to really do it. So, watch this space for announcements about our Great Plains Earth Academy that today we’re like to rename to The Great Plains Earth Academy, with an ambition to teach children how to care.
Celebration leads to caring. Caring leads to speaking out.
Thank you all for your support of Great Plains, which enables us to speak out.