Our Wilderness Defenders have meaningful conversations with the public every day. They are the lifeblood of our work. Without their tireless efforts we couldn’t do the vital work we do, protecting nature.
Today we catch up with Kim, a passionate staff member who loves inspiring people to join the environmental movement.
Next time you see a Wilderness Defender, why not stop and say “Hi”?
What does your job entail?
My job involves travelling to various locations in Melbourne and around Australia to engage with the public about environmental action on the street. It entails informing, inspiring and empowering people to join the environmental movement and actively contribute to the success of The Wilderness Society’s campaigns by donating regularly as a financial member.
What do you love about your job?
I love that my job creates the space for discourse about important collective issues like environmental protection in day-to-day life. In our busy society, opportunities to connect with one another about the big issues are increasingly rare. My role allows me to meet wonderful new people every day, which constantly challenges me to grow as an activist and consider things from different perspectives.
I think of my job as an exercise in empathy – it requires me to meet people where they are at, understand things from their point of view, and find and celebrate shared values.
The constant variety of conversations and interactions my job involves keeps it interesting and knowing that I’m fundraising for an awesome, independent organisation like The Wilderness Society makes me feel purposeful.
Why do you do the work you do?
It is an important life goal of mine to use my communication skills to create positive change and I’ve found working as a Wilderness Defender an incredibly effective way to do so. I have written articles on environmental issues in an attempt to move readers to action, but when I’m interacting with someone face to face on the street, I actually get to hear a response to what I’m putting out there.
I have to think on my feet, find common ground with whomever I’m talking with, and then figure out a way to move forward together, which is really the only way to combat challenges like climate change that are overwhelming to the individual.
I have always had a fierce love of nature, animals and people and I don’t think this is unique – I sincerely believe that the majority of people care about one another and the planet. This job allows me to give people the benefit of the doubt, to go out and give individuals the opportunity to have their voice heard, and to present them with a practical way to act. It is easy to disengage, give up or feel powerless in a society that encourages this response, but by donating to The Wilderness Society anyone can choose to support a collective of people who are dedicating their lives to protecting nature and who maintain a strong, positive vision of a more environmentally just society.
As a WD, I see people take that leap and decide to act every day and it gives me hope.
Is there anything you would change about your job if you could?
Exciting changes are happening throughout the organisation at the moment that will continue to extend my role. I’ve always been interested in learning more about what a successful campaign involves and our new community organising program Movement For Life recently gave me the opportunity to do so.
It’s a free weekend of training that runs once a month and it’s for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate powerfully and run a grassroots campaign. The initiative is all about handing the power back into the hands of the people and I am proud to be part of an organisation that takes this approach.
What type of person does it take to be a Wilderness Defender?
It takes someone who is compassionate and fairly resilient. You’ve got to have strategies that help you maintain a positive attitude and you’ve got to be super passionate about what you do in order to negotiate the various challenges that come along with approaching strangers.
What would you like to say to all those people who have stopped and had meaningful conversations with you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and connect with me. I loved hearing your stories and getting to know you.
Listening to one another and sharing our stories is what keeps us human and when we take time out of our busy lives to do so, all sorts of positive things can transpire! Feeling like a part of a community at The Wilderness Society has enriched my life and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to share our awesome NGO with you and invite you to get involved. Environmental advocacy is a lot more sustainable when you have supportive, inspiring people with a shared vision surrounding you.
Thank you for being one of those people!
If you would like to protect Australia's precious natural environment, please support the work we do to by giving just a dollar a day!
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