May 6, 2020

a virtual safari, women trailblazers and more


After being stuck inside for weeks on end, connecting with nature might feel impossible right now. 

So until self-quarantine ends, here are a few new shows, podcasts and more that can help bring nature to life for you, wherever you are.

Although global travel is restricted, you can still spot wild elephants, visit local communities and hear lions roar in the Kenyan savanna (virtually, that is).   

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, Conservation International’s virtual reality experience “My Africa” tells the story of Naltwasha Leripe, a young woman and member of the semi-nomadic Samburu pastoralist community. 

Fully immersed in Leripe’s surroundings, viewers follow along as she goes about her daily life, tending to livestock, retrieving water from the local well — or protecting the orphaned elephants of the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Viewers of “My Africa” join the Samburu community on their mission to save a recently orphaned elephant named Dudu, whose mother was killed by ivory poachers. In partnership with Conservation International, the community-owned Reteti sanctuary protects elephants such as Dudu until they are prepared to return to the wild. 

Their work is paying off: In 2019, the sanctuary helped to successfully reintroduce several elephants back into a wildlife herd that is protected by the Sera Wildlife Conservancy. 

From your morning cup of coffee to the car you drive, your decisions help to shape the natural world.

In the Outside/In podcast, host and journalist Sam Evans-Brown explores the impact of humanity’s interactions with nature throughout history in an effort to make the great outdoors a little less mysterious. His episodes cover topics such as a day in the life of a penguin counter and the impact of the movie “Jaws” on shark species worldwide. 

In a recent episode, Evans-Browns discusses an often-overlooked type of spongy soil: peat. Inviting experts to explain the science behind much-maligned — and mistreated — peatland ecosystems, he explores why humanity must urgently protect what remains of the world’s peat.

“[Peatlands hold] an inverted skyscraper of stored carbon,” Evans-Brown says. “It has been piling up for millennia, but what happens to it in the next hundred years, may well define our future.”

To keep listeners connected with the environment during self-isolation, Evans-Brown created a mini-series called “Inside/In,” which provides new ways for listeners to learn more about the nature that is right in our back yards. In one of the first installments, Evans-Brown invites bird expert Bridget Butler to teach listeners the best techniques for spotting unique birds outside their windows (and offer a much-needed break from computer screens).

From participating in weekly protests (and arrests) in front of the White House to writing songs about “climate change villains,” women around the world are using their creativity to tackle the climate crisis. 

Conservation International and ELLE, the world’s largest fashion magazine, teamed up in April to celebrate some of these innovative environmental champions in the second annual “Conservation Issue.”

Research shows that the climate crisis affects women disproportionately: They’re 14 times more likely to die during a natural disaster and constitute 80 percent of all climate refugees. But women are also at the forefront of the climate movement — and the issue highlights just a few of these female trailblazers. 

Actress Jane Fonda, singer Grimes and other celebrities are featured for using their platforms to tackle environmental issues through national fundraisers, sustainable lifestyle choices and documentaries. Also featured: youth activist Greta Thunberg, who calls on the world’s adults to take climate change seriously — before it is too late. 

“You keep saying that the children are our future, and that you would do anything for them,” Thunberg writes. “We don’t want your pep talks. We want you to seriously get involved in the acute sustainability crisis going on all around you.” 

 

Kiley Price is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: A Samburu woman at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya (© Georgina Goodwin)




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