What on earth do they mean by "Conservation through Competition"?
The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, ingeniously titled to avoid any confusion, was the result of two factors: Firstly, a need for a photography competition that was light hearted, upbeat, possibly unpretentious and mainly about wildlife doing funny things. Seven years on and these objectives seem to have been met. Secondly, and way more importantly, this competition is about conservation.
None of us are perfect, all of us at some point will fly somewhere (when we can) drive somewhere, cook something, burn something and probably provide some direct input into the general warming of the globe. Indirectly, we will also have some impact on the animals that share this planet with us. So the end result?
By entering this competition it gives both Paul, Tom and Michelle, and the rest of you talented photographers a chance to do a little bit for conservation. How? Well… you are now obviously going to go to your office, home, pub, club or wherever and talk about the dire need for us all to be conservationists in our own little way. Also, as we are supporting a wonderful grass roots conservation project this year; the Gunung Palung Orang-utan Conservation Program in Borneo, which helps to protect the environment that the wild Orang-utans inhabitat, so they can survive and hopefully flourish, perhaps you will go to their website www.savewildorangutans.com and have a look at the incredible work they do and spread that word as well.
It’s not a lot necessarily but it is the right step forwards. And one step leads to the next step. With your help and the help of the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Project, it’s way more than we could possibly have done without them and without you.
We hope that you feel the same way, keep clicking and keep appreciating the other living things that we live with.
Thanks, to all of you.
Paul and Tom and Michelle
What can you do at home to be a conservationist?
We have a whole bunch of ideas, which we will spread out over the year, but we have some wicked ideas to get you started:
(And definitely let us know how you are getting on, in fact if you are reading this then send us your best idea, and we will send a Think Tank camera bag to the idea we like the most - so make sure its original!! Send us pictures and stories to [email protected]. )
1. USE ECOSIA.org FOR ALL YOUR ONLINE SEARCHES - www.ecosia.org
There could not be a simpler way to help the planet. You search, they plant a tree. This really is too good to be true. Type in ECOSIA when you do an online search, rather than going for Google or all the others. And for about every 45 searches, Ecosia promise to plant one tree. It sounds unbelievable, but we have done our research, and they really actually totally do plant trees for the searches carried out on their search engine!!!
2. USE BARS OF SOAP INSTEAD OF BUYING GEL / SHAMPOO IN PLASTIC BOTTLES
Right, this is a bigger challenge than using Ecosia as a search engine. Because this does involve buying a bar of soap (ask your parents, they'll tell you what it looks like). But the good news is that it lasts longer, it doesnt involve plastic bottles, or microplastics, and even better than that you can buy shampoo specific bars of soap now!!
3. UNPLUG YOUR ELECTRONICS
We recently read that in the US, 10% of energy bils are spent on leaving things plugged in. TVs on standby, chargers charging fully charged electronics, washing machines left on after the wash is terminated etc etc. We know it can be a pain to turn everything off, but that tiny weeny little bit of pain is so worth it. For the greater good, for the kids, for wildlife, for all of us!
4. EAT LESS MEAT.
Now this one really is asking a bit more from everyone. We are not all vegetarians, but we are cutting down on meat, mainly because 80% of deforestation in the Amazon is to create space for grazing animals. By reducing demand, we reduce the deforestation, it really does seem to be that simple. So the more we reduce our meat intake, the better!
5. ONLY FLY LONG HAUL, EMBRACE THE TRAIN FOR SHORTER TRIPS.
We know how hard it is to avoid flights - sometimes there are no other options. But our feeling is that we should try and limit our flights to those that really are unavoidable, such as long haul flights. For shorter trips we should all try and make use of existing train networks (assuming you live where these are relatively reliable!). We did come across a story of people choosing to sail across the oceans on cargo ships, but as admirable as this is it might not fit into everyones busy timetables as a way of travelling... but it did sound awesome! So reducing flights is our starting point!
6. PUT PLANT BOXES ON YOUR WINDOW SILLS
The easiest (after the first 3) thing to do... put a plant box on your window sill, grow some flowers, and give the bees somewhere to go. We've all heard of the importance of bees, and this little nod towards their daily requirements is already a huge step in the right direction. Imagine if every windowsill had a flower box! It would be an absolute miracle, so lets start that process!
7. BECOME A “WILD INFLUENCER.”
Yup, you heard it here first. This is a special person who may be not an mega activist, but really, really cares about the environment and what is happening so you do a few very simple and easy things. For example, encourage your friends and family about some of the simple things we have mentioned above, talk about it in social media, in the pub, at work. Does your work place subscribe to some good environmental practices? Find really awesome conservation organisations and engage with them on email, or social media. Email or write to your local government representative, maybe an MP, a House of Rep, a councillor and find out what they are doing to help the wildlife around the world. Hold your elected representatives accountable. You have a voice, we all do, use it and don't be afraid.
8. SHOP RESPONSIBLY.
Yup, this is super easy for everyone to do. For example; don't buy products which have palm oil, or if you have to - make sure you buy products that use sustainable palm oil because the majority of palm oil plantations are destroying rainforests and thus affecting the global weather. Try and avoid un-recyclable products. Give yourself a mission – ok how about one yoghurt pot per person per week of non-recyclable products? It is possible, you know. We have a great mate in London who does just that.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly every single thing you do, as an individual, a family, a football club, a work place - makes an impact. Do it.