Well it’s easy to be a Glass Half Empty person. Just look around. A tide of terror in Iraq; Syria in bloody turmoil; the Eurozone in crisis (again); the US limping out of recession; earthquakes; floods; unrelenting pressure on wild species and habitats; rampant rhino poaching; massive ivory trade; over-fishing; animal cruelty; political indifference..
But that, of course, is not the whole picture.
I’m a Glass Half Full person: South Sudan, a State born in relative peace; the Arab Spring; the optimism of a new Libya; the growth of philanthropy; the empowerment of women in many previously oppressive societies; the establishment of more protected areas; the ban on seal skin imports by the EU; a new climate control treaty..
And then consider what we at Born Free have been doing too.
Rescuing lions in Ethiopia; exposing the barbarity of the trapping industry in the USA; building lion-proof bomas in Kenya; caring for our big cats in South Africa; investigating zoos in Europe; drawing the curtain down on wild animal circuses in England; supporting wildlife law enforcement in Central and West Africa; helping the Kenya Wildlife Service fight the ivory trade; protecting wild tigers in India; working with local communities in more than half a dozen countries through Global Friends; rescuing dolphins in Turkey; saving and homing over 100 primates in Texas. I could go on (and on).
I’ve celebrated, raged, laughed, cried, championed, decried in equal measure.
But is that why I am an optimist – is that why my Glass is Half Full?
Not quite: For me it’s because wherever I look, despite all the horrors, I see the innate goodness of so many people. People who will spend their Christmas serving others less fortunate; who will cross the road to alleviate suffering; who care for all life and, in their own way, do what they can to help; who find the time when others are ‘too busy’; who give and expect nothing in return; who stand up to be counted when others sit; who speak out against injustice when others remain silent.
This is what I admire, respond to, am inspired by. The wellspring of humanity (or should that be humane-ity) that, out of a deep-seated and profound sense of compassion and justice, believes in a better world for all living beings – and is prepared to play their part in making that dream a reality.
To you all, I raise my Glass Half Full (which, by the way, is running over).
Happy New Year!