Kirsty Watermeyer interviews Heiko Denker in this episode of MYD Earth. Not a stranger to the show, he shares his thoughts on conservation and the possibilities that it opens up for a country.
While art has become a passion for him in recent years, Heiko is actually an engineer by profession and only recently started to explore his artistic side together with his wife.
Growing up on a farm, he was surrounded by nature from a young age and grew to be inspired by the works of conservationists such as Flip Sander.
“I started to get to know about his work when some of the lions were poisoned quite some years ago and I started working towards meeting him and when he gave a talk in Windhoek I got involved a bit more and through that I got to know him and tried to help him where I can, and that’s how I got more aware of what conservation actually means, because you know if you live on a farm, you live in nature, but conservation, it’s not really that important in your mind and it becomes more and more important when you see people like Flip Stander doing the work they do,” he says.
For him, conservation should always be approached from a holistic perspective in order for it to have impact.
“Conservation is complex, and to be able to understand it you need to get involved and understand what the people that are doing, why they do the things that they do. It’s not always a straight line, it’s not only black and white, there’s a lot of grey areas in between, but it’s wonderful to hear that as any member of the public, if you go and seek for the information, not only will you find out that you can get involved and be part of the work that’s being done.”
He also stresses the need to be interested in learning as much as possible about all areas of conservation in order to understand its complexity and address all conservation issues appropriately.
He quotes Andra Ehlers who does work with the vultures of Botswana ; “if you want to get into conservation because you think it’s so nice and it’s great, you will be disappointed because it’s hard work and it’s very disappointing quite often, because of the things that you learn and the things that you see, but then there always some very nice moments as well that you know keep you going at the end of the day.”
He also acknowledges and applauds the work that has been done and continues to be done in the area.
“We want to live further and you know we have a planet that we need to protect. It’s a planet that’s not endless, so if we waste things we going to destroy ourselves and the rest of the planet, so it’s very important to think about the whole conservation and things like that, and get involved,” he advises.
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