414 parts per million. That number represents the carbon dioxide levels in the air – the highest they have been in 650,000 years. The planet is warming. The Artic ice is melting, and in turn sea levels are rising. Facts and figures are conveying the urgent, potentially devasting situation we find ourselves in, and our tamariki know it. They are speaking up, and demanding change. And no one puts it better than teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow”. It’s not all dire straits, we have a window of opportunity to reverse the situation.
Motivated tamariki and dedicated conservationists inspire hope for a future with positive environmental change. At Auckland Zoo we’re proud to be kaitiaki, or guardians, for wildlife and wild places, and are privileged to shoulder the responsibility of inspiring the kaitiaki of tomorrow. Our talented education teams teach students about sustainability and the challenges that face our environment, whilst our outreach team hand these students the tools to make change in their own backyards. It’s all about showing future generations it isn’t too late, exploring what fantastic initiatives are making a difference around Aotearoa and the world, and then teaching students real, tangible skills so they can actually make a contribution – the very same skills used by DOC rangers, council workers, and zookeepers in the field.