May 26, 2014

Educating Young People Critical to Protecting the Earth’s Diversity

Authors’ Note: Travels with Gannon & Wyatt Botswana

When we travel, either physically or vicariously through a book or film, one cannot help but be awed by the incredible diversity of our planet. Traveling opens our minds to different ways of thinking, introduces us to different ways of being, and presents us with possibilities we may have never considered.

Elephants BotswanaHowever, the earth is losing its diversity at an alarming rate. Since 1970, scientists estimate that as much as one third of world’s wildlife has been wiped out. Ancient cultures and languages are disappearing, as well, and with them thousands of years of wisdom. These cultures have different ways of perceiving life and our connection with nature. In times of rapid global change, such knowledge is more important than ever. In fact, it may offer solutions to some of our greatest challenges.
Naru Bushmen Children
By introducing young people to different cultures and environments through storytelling, we hope to plant a seed that will inspire the preservation of biological and cultural diversity on our planet. Two of the last great places we can find such diversity are the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta of Botswana.

As with any area rich in resources, the Kalahari and Okavango face threats. Poaching, loss of habitat, and human development place pressure on the ecosystem. In the decades to come, the younger generation will play a critical role in the fate of such places and the wellbeing of the planet as a whole. The sooner young people take an interest, the greater the chances that the earth’s wondrous diversity will be preserved for generations to come.