March 2019 Newsletter
A child born today has a good chance of living into the 22nd century. But which other species will still be sharing our precious planet with us in the year 2100? The warning signs around climate change and loss of biodiversity grow ever more alarming. A report this month about the collapse of insect populations across the world is so staggering that, in the words of one African conservationist who works with the EPI, ‘it produces a feeing of numbness, even helplessness'.
Despair, however, is not an option. We are living at a time of great risk, but also opportunity. In early February, the President of the United States made his State of the Union address. He spoke for 82 minutes, but did not once mention a single aspect of the mounting ecological threats. We cannot allow his indifference, nor that of many others of our leaders, to define our generation. The children born in 2019, and in decades to come, will want to know how we responded at this time of crisis.
The struggle to save Africa’s elephants is, of course, only one of the myriad of environmental campaigns that our generation must fight. But it is an important one nonetheless. In part, of course, because a world without elephants would be a much sadder place. But also because if we successfully conserve elephants we will also be conserving much of the biodiversity contained in their habitat. Elephants can attract tourists, and make Africa’s wild places pay their way, and therefore stay protected. They also play a direct role in creating biodiversity in the first place, whether it be through dispersing seeds across the savannah or maintaining a mineral-rich clearing in a dense forest.
The EPI’s National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs) seek to reflect the holistic importance of elephant conservation. Our 19 member countries are dedicated to conserving their elephants not only for the sake of those animals, but also as a means towards protecting the wider environment on which all species, including our own, ultimately depend. In other words, if we can get this right, the children of 2100 will grow up on a planet where elephants, and many other creatures, still flourish