Here’s a challenge: take a conservationist out for a drink and ask them about their work. Nine times out of ten—or possibly more—you’ll walk away feeling frustrated, despondent, and utterly hopeless. You’ll hear about rainforests being chopped down for palm oil or chopsticks; or a just-discovered species that probably just went extinct; or a government that is worse than ambivalent: corrupt; or a shadowy corporation that’s doing some horrific thing to ecosystems and local people just to make greedy shareholders happy. If the talk goes broader—and more drinks are bought (you should probably pay: conservationists don’t make much)—you’ll probably hear about the globally rising temperatures and melting glaciers; how the oceans are practically empty and acidifying; how primary forests are mostly gone; how the human population just doesn’t stop growing; and how the bulk of the world’s species will likely be extinct in a couple hundred years anyway.
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