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Monday, August 11, 2014

Why Protecting Wilderness Matters


-->By Washington Wild TIPS Intern Evelyn Newman

We all have our own predisposed notions of the world. When we are young our minds are molded by those around us; our parents, our mentors. The ideas and beliefs are others, not ours.  It is not until we are older that we truly start understanding the world for ourselves.  
I first became concerned about our planet at the age of twelve. I always knew about global warming and deforestation, but it didn’t really hit home for me until such time.   
During that point of my life, I was obsessed with Orangutans. I can’t exactly explain why I felt such a powerful connection to them. Maybe it is the fact that they are so human like in their emotions and actions; Orangutans share roughly 97 percent of our DNA. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that there are now less than 6,600 left in Sumatra, and less than 54,000 in Borneo (www.orangutans-sos.org). It is thought that these amazing creatures are to become the Great Apes to go extinct; I felt like it was my duty as an individual to protect them.

By concerning myself with protecting Orangutans, I unknowingly propelled myself into the bigger picture of protecting the wilderness. It made me realize how much the planet offers us and how I couldn’t stand idly by and watch it degrade. Washington Wild is trying to stop that very thing.

Washington Wild is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protect and restore wild lands and waters in Washington State through advocacy, education and civic engagement. By educating, empowering and mobilizing our communities, Washington Wild builds powerful grassroots networks that help protect wild lands throughout the state.  Washington Wild is the only conservation organization for Washington State and since our founding 1979, we have protected over three million acres of wilderness.

Though Washington Wild is a locally focused organization, their mission can still be understood on a larger global scale. My time with the organization and seeing the work they do to protect our wild lands and waters in Washington state has shown me that we cannot keep living the way we live without consequences, that something has to be done to better our future. Washington Wild is making this happen.