Conservationist |concerned by apathy


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

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.”

More at wildlife asia.org.au.