Compassion for Nature

Guest Blogpost by Shivani Bhalla
(Founder and Director of Ewaso Lions)

Our planet is under severe threat. Large swathes of wilderness is being lost and wildlife numbers are plummeting all across the globe. Rapid urbanisation leading to animal habitat loss, poaching and bushmeat hunting of wildlife are just a number of things exacerbating the situation.

Picture this. A large African lion running down the streets of a huge metropolitan city – cars loudly honking their horns, people screaming, chaos ensuing everywhere. No, this is not the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but in fact an incident that happened last week  in the capital city of Kenya – Nairobi. Understandably people were scared – but their chaotic and hysterical reaction caused the lion to be extremely antagonized.

This is not the first time this year that lions have been seen on the busy streets of Nairobi. Nairobi is developing and expanding at a rapid rate. The once secluded Nairobi National Park now has buildings along its boundaries. When once you could only see the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) from the park, now you can see numerous, taller, bigger buildings much closer to the park. And, despite much opposition, a highway is currently being constructed on the park boundary – causing further encroachment on the park land.

I am saddened to see these developments. As a child I used to frequently visit the Nairobi National Park – and those visits ignited a passion in me for wildlife. Today, I recognise that there is a delicate balance between conservation and human progress and development, but I fear that further encroachment on protected area land will lead to further incidences of lions (and other animals) escaping the boundaries. Unfortunately all the development is causing intense pressure on Nairobi National Park and it feels like the wildlife are now having their say!

Human-wildlife conflict is escalating every single day. Instead of living in harmony with the rest of the animal kingdom, it feels like the human species is showing an enormous lack of compassion for other animal species.  We squeeze them out of their homes, we block their migration corridors, we hunt them, we poach them for body parts – mistakenly believing that they have medicinal properties. Our general discard for the planet as a whole is breathtakingly arrogant.  We cut trees, we litter the landscape, we pollute the water bodies. The damage we are causing is on a huge scale – affecting the planet, its flora and fauna, and of course ultimately ourselves and future generations. Our lack of compassion for all other living creatures is in fact causing us harm as well.

So, this week, how can you be more Compassionate to Nature?

Well, the first thing is to start caring.

Start understanding what is happening to our planet. Start being concerned.

And then, take action.

First let’s keep our environment clean. It’s simple – we keep our homes clean, why are we so quick to litter the environment? Recycle things that can be recycled. Choose organic, sustainable products to use around the house and your own bodies. Dispose off your rubbish responsibly.

Then turn your attention to the wildlife in your own country and in the world as a whole. There are animals – both large and small that are under threat – literally becoming extinct. Get to know what animals are endangered. Start talking about them. Start sharing stories on social media. Donate to charities and volunteer to help them if possible.

All we need is some compassion. All we need is some understanding and awareness. All we need is some action. Humans have been the cause of the problem – now humans must find the solution.

Ewaso Lions is based in Samburu, Kenya and conserves Kenya’s lions and other large carnivores by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife. http://ewasolions.org/

This blogpost was first published on http://www.compassionateme.com as part of the Compassionate Me programme in March 2016

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