Podcast about conservationists who do amazing things for nature and bring inspiration into our lives.
How anyone can become a solutionary for systemic change
Many people feel desperate about the state of the world today. It’s no wonder because the number of negative news we hear is endless – biodiversity loss, resource depletion, increasing inequality, wars, and so on. The more informed we are, the more helpless we feel, thinking, “How can I make a difference?”
It turns out that all of us can make a difference if we take a solutionary approach to our work. No matter what you do - a biologist, a teacher, a gardener - you can tackle big issues and change your field so it is more just, humane and sustainable.
In this episode, Zoe Weil, the co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, explains:
Why it’s important to cultivate the culture of service in our communities
What can local organizations do to involve young people
Why it’s more important to change the system rather than individuals within it
How you can solve pressing global issues locally
How you can find a meaningful career by answering only three questions
What a solutionary is and how you can become one yourself
Institute for Humane Education
The Solutionary Guidebook
How to be a Solutionary: A Guide for People Who Want to Make a Positive Difference
Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and author of seven books and multiple TEDx talks. Zoe speaks at universities, conferences, and schools globally about how our education should go far beyond just having good grades and a diploma. She’s convinced that in today’s world with so many pressing global problems, we should give people the knowledge, tools and motivation to become change-makers for a healthy and humane world for all.
How PMC's hot soap operas improved the lives of more than 500 million people
When soap operas are designed in a way that they not only entertain people but also educate about social issues, they can have a huge positive impact on society and the environment. This type of approach is called entertainment education and is at the core of what Population Media Center does.
Through hot TV soaps and radio dramas, this non-profit draws attention to family planning, gender equality, domestic violence, girls’ education, children’s health and education, and conservation. Since 1998, their 40 shows have helped more than 500 million people live healthier lives in more than 50 countries.
In this episode, Bill Ryerson, Population Media Center’s founder, talks about:
why just raising awareness about environmental or health care issues does not make people change their behavior
why storytelling and role modeling are extremely powerful tools for social change
how soap operas helped Mexico achieve the most dramatic decline in fertility rates in the 20th century
how TV soaps and radio dramas that address contemporary social issues are made
why audiences fall in love with transitional characters rather than positive ones
how long it takes to bring change to a community
why effective communication is central to human progress and why we should fight misinformation
Population Media Center
Why freshwater fish need as much or more attention than rhinos
Even though people mostly view fish as tasty food on their plates, freshwater fish species are in desperate need of our attention and action. They are the world’s most threatened taxon, due to pollution, aquatic habitat loss, invasive species, overharvesting and water flow changes. Fish are at risk worldwide, but Southeast Asia is one of the key areas where fish are suffering with more than 80 different fish species currently on the brink of extinction.
In this episode, Nerissa Chao (a conservation biologist who has been leading the IUCN SSC Asian Species Action Partnership), Mike Baltzer (founder of Shoal, an organization that strives to protect freshwater species) and Nathaniel Ng Shengrong (a fish conservation expert from Mandai Nature) talk about:
why freshwater fish are important for the ecosystem
what happens when fish go extinct
why fish are neglected and overlooked
how the ASAP Action Plan will help protect fish in Southeast Asia
how local communities, governments and hobbyists can help
successful fish conservation initiatives
Asian Species Action Partnership
How family planning programs help women live better lives and get involved in local protection of nature
When Colombian conservationist Sara Inés Lara started helping women from rural communities access family planning and education and become guardians of their own environment, she got a lot of pushback from local men and conservation colleagues. After all, it was a taboo to address environmental protection, women’s empowerment and population. Seventeen years later, her NGO Women for Conservation has reached more than 2,000 women and helped the recovery of the yellow-eared parrot, which was downlisted from the IUCN Red List in 2021. More than ever, Sara is convinced that this is the correct way to do conservation.
On this episode, Sara Inés Lara and Catriona Spaven Donn, Empower to Plan Coordinator from Population Matters, talk about:
Why it is important to engage women in conservation
Why addressing conservation, family planning and population is crucial
How family planning programs help women have better lives and get involved in local protection of nature
What experience Sara and Cat have had talking about population and conservation
How Colombian activists saved the yellow-eared parrot
If you’d like to learn more about women's rights and environmental justice, listen to the interview “The Most Effective Conservation Strategy? Empower women”.
Sara Inés Lara founded Women for Conservation which has empowered more than 2,000 women in rural communities through conservation education, environmentally sustainable livelihoods, and access to family planning. Sara has been recognized as One in a Hundred Great Latin American Women by Billiken Magazine.
Catriona Spaven-Donn works for UK-based charity Population Matters, which supports Women for Conservation as part of their Empower to Plan Program. Cat is passionate about the intersection of women's rights and environmental justice and has worked on women’s empowerment and indigenous rights in Canada, Peru, Guatemala and Scotland.
Women for Conservation
Claire Lewis: Good news! Black rhinos and elephants are on the rise in Zambia
While in most places, we hear about rhinos and elephants being killed, in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, one of the most untouched wilderness sanctuaries in Africa, the situation is quite the opposite. This little-known park is home to Zambia’s only black rhino population, which continues to show one of the highest growth rates in Africa, and Zambia’s largest, most stable and ever-increasing elephant population.
On this episode, Claire Lewis, a British conservationist who manages the park, talks about:
What it's like bringing up three kids in the wilderness
How the rhinos, elephants, lions and wild dogs have recovered from poaching
What it was like to reintroduce rhinos who had gone extinct
Why having too many rhinos is risky and where they plan to put them
Why this park is so successful in protecting its wildlife
How conservation is also about managing people
Conservationist Claire Lewis has been living and working in the park with her husband Ed Sayer and their three children since 2007. She is the Technical Advisor at the Frankfurt Zoological Society, a conservation organization which created the North Luangwa Conservation Programme with the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife in 1986.
North Luangwa National Park
Robichaud: How to save saola – an animal that no biologist has ever seen
With fewer than 50 animals in the wild, saola is possibly the most threatened mammal on the planet. Even though it was discovered in 1992, very little is known about it, as no biologist has ever seen it in the wild and there are only a handful of photos of it from camera traps – last one from 2013. To save the animal from extinction, the Saola Foundation for Annamite Mountains Conservation wants to lead an intensive search for the last saolas in order to capture them for a breeding program. William Robichaud, the president of the organization, talks about:
Why saola was discovered so late
Why saola is on the brink of extinction
Why it is so hard to find saola
Why captive breeding program is necessary for the survival of saola
How saola search can benefit other endangered species
What methods they want to use to find and capture saolas
How to effectively protect nature in the Annamite Mountains
William Robichaud has been working on wildlife conservation in Laos and Vietnam for more than 25 years. In 2006, he co-founded the IUCN Saola Working Group, and served as its Coordinator until 2019. In 2015, the IUCN Species Survival Commission recognized Bill with its Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership, for his contributions to Saola conservation.
Saola Foundation for Annamite Mountains Conservation
The Saola Working Group