Con­ser­va­tion­ist con­cerned by ap­a­thy

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Kaylee Martin

PEO­PLE can­not rely on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to fix the mass ex­tinc­tion prob­lems the world faces now, ac­cord­ing to Wildlife Asia di­rec­tor Clare Camp­bell.

Based in East Vic­to­ria Park, Wildlife Asia is a not-for-profit rais­ing funds to pro­tect the nat­u­ral habi­tats of orang­utans, gib­bons, Asian rhinoceroses, bears and other Asian wildlife.

Af­ter hold­ing a film screen­ing of Rac­ing Ex­tinc­tion at Curtin Univer­sity last month, Ms Camp­bell said the lack­lus­tre num­ber of at­ten­dees was con­cern­ing.

“I feel dis­heart­ened that more peo­ple aren’t in­ter­ested; we can’t just put our heads in the sand,” she said.

“It’s a mis­con­cep­tion that we can just ed­u­cate chil­dren and they’ll fix the prob­lem, we’re in the middle of a mass ex­tinc­tion and we’re all play­ing a part.

“Our gen­er­a­tion is the one that needs to turn this around.”

Ms Camp­bell pre­vi­ously worked as su­per­vi­sor of pri­mates at Perth Zoo, how­ever she left about three years ago to fo­cus on her con­ser­va­tion ven­tures.

With the ma­jor­ity of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s projects fo­cus­ing on pro­tect­ing Asian rain­forests, Ms Camp­bell said the fight against de­vel­op­ment was one of the big­gest.

“We work with lo­cal teams on the ground to en­sure pro­tected area sta­tus is main­tained; there’s a con­stant drive for de­vel­op­ment in In­done­sia,” she said.

“I re­ally feel like we have such a com­fort­able life­style here, but once peo­ple re­ally see what’s go­ing on in the en­vi­ron­ment they’d have to change that.

“So they just don’t want to know. We re­ally want to get the mes­sage across that you can start with one thing, and those small changes can re­ally have an im­pact.

“I guess the lit­tle things can start with us­ing the car less, us­ing less plas­tic and be­ing aware of palm oil.

“It’s in most things in the su­per­mar­ket and drives most of the de­struc­tion in the rain­for­est.”

Ms Camp­bell said it was dif­fi­cult for in­ter­ested con­sumers to be aware of palm oil be­cause it could be listed as veg­etable oil.

To con­tinue to raise aware­ness and funds for the projects, Ms Camp­bell said she planned to host an­other screen­ing in the fu­ture.

“The peo­ple who were at the screen­ing re­ally do care, we could start a move­ment with peo­ple like that,” she said.

“There are peo­ple who are re­ally com­mit­ted, so I still have a lot of hope.”

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Clare Camp­bell was dis­heart­ened by the small turnout at a re­cent film screen­ing.

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