Anonymous said: So I've been quite depressed lately as you have been about the whole "animals leaving the earth FOREVER really quickly " thing so I wanted to ask why things really aren't being done. You are in the field and you know how the field works, (this is not to bash you in any way, you just know more than I do.) so I wanted to know what is really keeping things from moving forward. We already have the research, the data, but what is the final piece? Is there anything other than donating and petitions?
God this is a difficult question to answer. Honestly I don’t know how some people can get out of bed in the morning. I have friends who have watched numerous frog extinctions happen, and somehow they remain positive, hopeful, driven, and influential people. If Madagascar’s frogs start to collapse like the rest of the world’s, I will be inconsolable.
The thing is, in a lot of cases, researchers are hesitant to take big steps because they don’t have all the data they want. In other cases, even if they take the necessary steps to make a difference, the people in political power, who ultimately govern what is designated for what purpose, become a huge obstacle. This is a problem of conservation science having to be run through governing agencies, whose interests are not necessarily what is best for the fauna or flora inhabiting the areas they govern.
Even when governing agencies cooperate and agree on what is most important, they are notoriously slow. It takes years, sometimes decades, to enact the changes that we want to see over months to reverse or mitigate damage.
It’s easy to have a defeated attitude. And sometimes it’s appropriate. Hundreds of frogs have disappeared without any possible hope of bringing them back. We are losing diversity before it is even discovered. But the most important thing is to stay positive. Focus on the steps that need to come, one after the next. We have to build policies. We have to work with communities to make differences to their lives as well as the lives of their fauna. We have to convince people that animals, plants, and ecosystems are worth saving. We have to identify what gaps there are in our knowledge, and then piece together the funding to do the research that we’re still missing. Step by step, slowly, we have to work toward a better future. For ourselves, for our children, and for our planet.