As many of you know, my day job is with Discovery Communications. At Discovery, they designate one day per year where everyone in the company takes part in some sort of community based activity. This year, I elected to go to the headquarters of the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Bronx Zoo. I love the Wildlife Conservation Society. I believe they do a lot of amazing work in research and education to protect the natural world. For those who have never been, I encourage everyone to take a look at their work. I wish we lived in a world where we didn't need these organizations, but maybe through their efforts, there will come a time when we won't anymore. Their mission reads:
"WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature."
So, back to Impact Day. Our activity was to take third graders around on a scavenger hunt; the intention was that in the process of doing so, they could learn more about the animals in the zoo and the impact humans have on wildlife. It was incredible to see the energy and enthusiasm these kids had towards learning! But, for me, the most interesting thing was how the mindset of the kids evolved during the trip. For example, at the beginning of the day I noticed that the kids were mostly talking about which animals they wanted to see. However, near the end, I saw two little girls speaking about a display that documented how the loss of habitat caused by humans affects wildlife. It was such a defined shift: from talk about entertainment, to how we can help the animals we love.
Impact Day is not just about us (the employees of Discovery); it teaches kids about their impact. It is easy to think that if humans just fenced off specific areas and never went there, we could save that wildlife. But, we need to learn that our influence on this earth as humans is far-reaching, and our world is very interconnected. For instance, even though gorillas don't live here, our actions on this side of the world affects them (and the entire globe).
Us humans have the special ability to consciously determine our impact: that impact can be negative, or we can choose to impact the world as positively as possible.