After taking a quick glance at poaching and other environmental statistics, it’s oftentimes hard to figure out what our generation’s environmental legacy will be for our children. Will there be anything left for them? For that matter, will they even be willing to accept this burden?
Have you ever visited an elephant graveyard?
To some African communities, the presence of wildlife is perceived as a threat to their livelihoods. Elephants are crop eating, water tank tipping nuisances. Lions are cattle attacking predators. Routine chores involve the added danger of stumbling upon a hippo or crocodile at the riverbank.
To others, where there is wildlife, they see opportunity. For many African nations, tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. In fact, Tanzania’s earnings topped 1.88 billion US Dollars in 2013, superseding gold as their number one foreign exchange earner.
I am amazed at how many people still turn their heads to the poaching crisis. Why should we care if elephants fall of the face of the earth? Just one more species bound for extinction...that's life. Survival of the fittest, right? Wrong!
When I heard about the news that China for the first time crushed 6.1 tons of ivory in public, I was just back from three months' field investigative reporting in Africa on Chinese involvement in wildlife trafficking—essentially focused on ivory and rhino horns. I was glad to see tangible action being taken in addition to general embassy announcements stating "Chinese always care about environment and wildlife." Finally, I feel that, we have something solid to show to the world. However, I also deeply understand that this big crush is not enough.