We, the youth, must protect the environment... no one else will

Four of the eight rangers popularly known as Team Lioness, from left: Sharon Nankinyi, 21, Loise Soila, 21, Ruth Sikeita 28, and Eunice Maantei, 20, at the Olgulului Community Conservancy on September 29, 2020. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

I have always liked animals and nature. I came to realise that poaching was a problem on my 10th birthday when I saw illegal ivory burning at the Nairobi National Park.

My club, Wildlife Savers, had visited the park to donate funds in support of orphaned baby elephants when we heard stories of how you could line up the elephants that had been killed from there all the way to Machakos.

This made me realise I cannot just sit by and watch wildlife die.

I began to talk about this issue. My mum and I went on a trip with an organisation called The Nature Conservancy to meet people taking care of their environment and wildlife in Laikipia in 2019. I got to track lions with rangers. When we came across an elephant that was so protective of its calf, it looked like it was ready to attack us.

While that was expected, it made me feel that animals no longer trust us humans, not even the ones with good intentions.

When I got back home, I shared what I learnt and saw with my classmates. Leaders should make poaching a big deal because they are not in power to make money but to solve our problems.

If this does not happen, it is we the youth who will have to deal with the consequences of poaching and extinction of wildlife species. But at the same time, we can’t just blame the government for everything.

Powerful generation

We all have a role to play, and we, the Generation Zers, need to speak up. What many of us have never realised is that we are a very powerful generation. We have highlighted many issues before and solved them. So, if we see conservation as a big problem, then it can be solved. There is power in numbers and we have got the numbers.

Find your own way of helping. Speak to leaders, speak to people who have money—tell them they have to use their money for the greater good, and for the environment.

If not, we will suffer a great loss of our heritage, our culture, our individuality, our uniqueness.

Are you aged 10-20 and would like to be Nation’s young reporter? Email your 400-600-word article to [email protected]

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