Tianah: If it is not for the environment, it is not for me

While studying MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation at ARU, Tianah has become committed to sustainability and volunteered for a number of projects. She's also developed an app for reporting wildlife sighting, poaching and killing.

Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation student Tianah

I had always believed that nature is the driving force for human survival, I just didn’t know how powerful that force is. From single use plastic, to land use and even fashion; our three basic needs (food, clothing and shelter) can affect not just biodiversity, but our own future existence.

Coming from a developing country where conservation is the least of the problems, the knowledge I acquired from my course, MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation, made me realise even sensitisation of sustainability can be a way of solving some of the problems my country has. I began to understand that the road to solving the climate crisis begins with ME and every other person out there, that no one is too small to make a difference. We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.

I have become interested in everything sustainability related: tree planting, wildlife conservation, sustainable agriculture, sustainable fashion, etc. In the summer of 2020, I volunteered to be part of Cambridge City Council’s i-Tree Eco project, which ARU was part of. Without ARU I would not have known that that the project existed. Participating in the i-Tree Eco project gave me the opportunity to learn whilst doing what I love, conserving the environment. Now I walk on the street conscious of my environment with an exciting feeling of being able to name the trees and educate people about canopy cover.

Going through my social media on a daily basis, there are always one or two items of news about animals sighted in different African countries, and killed (with the intent of consuming) because they are not familiar to the area and can be considered a good catch if the animal is big. Some of these animals are endangered species but people kill them as they are not sensitised enough about conservation. This reality made me start to develop an app where you can anonymously report wildlife poaching, killing or sighting in my country. This app is designed to be in the three major languages spoken in Nigeria.

Volunteering has helped me contribute to sustainability. It has also helped develop my skills in different ways, from communication to teamwork. Participating in the i-Tree Eco project helped me to develop specific field skills, so I can now use equipment I didn’t know how to use previously. It has also awoken new ideas in me.

My course has also helped developed my skills, including learning about communication in the context of conservation issues in the Communications for Conservation module. Check out #comms4con on twitter, there are some interesting tweets by students. The Behavioural Ecology and Current Topics in Conservation module has provided with me knowledge on the impacts humans have on conservation and the environment.

I am grateful to ARU for exposing me to these issues and intend to start a vigorous social media campaign targeting plastic use and pollution in Nigeria. Recycling is a good idea but reduced use of plastic should be our ultimate aim.

The end to the climate crisis is not just up to the Government (policy makers) and corporations. It is up to me and you. Imbibing the ‘if it is not for the environment, it is not for me’ behavior will go a long way.