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The Greatest Danger to Elephants: Apathy

Dr. Jane Goodall is celebrating her birthday today! Her life and work inspire me in my mission to create a harmonious future for elephants and humans. She started out as an ordinary woman, a secretary. But after a trip to Gombe, all that changed as she sought to make a better world for animals and humans alike. She understood that:

Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.

I too am an ordinary individual. I am a wife, a mother to two dogs, a full-time musician, and an elephant activist. Like Dr. Goodall, I believe that every individual matters and can make a difference. That’s why I created this blog. To play my role in raising public awareness about the ivory trade.

Last month there was much blood shed. In one week, 86 elephants in Chad were killed including 33 pregnant females. Over 40 more elephants, even newborns, were killed in Cameroon. 3 poachers in Kruger National Park were shot dead. And in Thailand, a ranger was killed by poachers. This is the toll of poaching: the lives of magnificent animals, the lives of human beings.

I struggle to understand why this is happening. Surely the people in Africa don’t want to destroy a keystone species of the environment not to mention a key ecotourism attraction and national symbol. Surely the people in China want to continue their two millennium heritage of ivory carving for 2000 more years to come. But at the rate elephants are being poached, the species will be extinct by 2020.

It’s easy to place the blame on greed. Greed from poachers looking to make good money to sustain their families. Greed from consumers who desire the status symbol of ivory. Greed from countries making hundreds of millions of dollars from this illegal trade. It’s an industry that is high in financial payoff with little legal concerns. In most African countries, if caught, poachers must simply pay a small fine to the government. It’s been called a “slap on the wrist” by many. It’s an industry that easily corrupts those who desire to do good. In fact, recent news reports that many poachers-turned-rangers are now turning back to poaching because of the money.

But greed isn’t the only issue at hand, (albeit, it is a real issue that needs to be addressed). No, the greater  transgression is a quiet, hidden assassin: apathy. A lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Dr. Goodall once said,

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.

I live in the fourth largest city in America, and the average person I talk to either doesn’t know about the eco-genocide occurring, or they are not interested since it does not pertain to their daily life rhythms. But apathy is no different than poaching. It’s these people, the apathetic, that need to be roused. And I believe the only reason they lay asleep in apathy is because they don’t realize the potential agents of change each of them can be. When listening to them, it seems they hide behind their lack of concern, because they feel out of control and don’t know how else to cope with these challenges.

It’s time to awaken them with the truth, that apathy will only aid the elephant march to extinction

Yet the story doesn’t end there. The antonyms of apathy are care, eagerness, excitement, passion, sensibility & sympathy. If the 7 billion people of the world channeled their apathy to sympathy, change is not only possible, it is probable.

The lineage of elephants will not die as long as I am living to fight for them. I pledge to take up my arms of education to raise public awarenes. Join me in this. Share this blog with your friends & family. Sign THIS PETITION to tell world leaders NO to ivory poaching. Follow Elephantopia on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest elephant news. Get excited, get eager, let’s channel our passion to make a difference!

You matter, You have a role to play, You make a difference

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