PROFILE: Chris Diaz, pushing for youth to get involved in conservation

PROFILE: Chris Diaz, pushing for youth to get involved in conservation

In Summary

  • There is a need for the development of ecological activities, including protection and development of forests.
  • We must encourage more young people to visit the parks and learn about protecting wildlife.
  • This is our heritage and brings millions of tourists earning revenues.

Meet Chris Diaz, a business leader and conservationist born in Mombasa, Kenya.

Through his career, Diaz has made great strides and contributed a lot on matters trade, business development conservation as well as encouraging entrepreneurship among the young generation.

In this in-depth interview, Diaz shares insights on conservation; elements that enhance growth and development at many levels.

Take us through how you developed an interest in conservation

I was born in a tourism city and close to the ocean full of amazing marine life and had developed an interest in shows that were themed around wildlife and nature conservation. No wonder I learnt to swim and dive at an early age studying fish and coral along the coastal waters.

Slowly, my passion for the outdoors grew every day. I began to appreciate the world’s natural treasures and as the years went by, I began to think up ways of protecting the biodiversity and wildlife school activities, especially ways we could earn tourism revenue and protect our assets like forests and wildlife.

Why is conservation important?

It goes without saying that the most obvious reason for conservation is to protect wildlife and promote biodiversity. Also preserving wildlife and the environment for future generations. And the most key reason would be providing opportunities for education and the enjoyment of the environment.

Diaz at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Headquarters where over 100 tonnes of ivory were set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY
Diaz at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Headquarters where over 100 tonnes of ivory were set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY


How can knowledge about conservation be shared through generations?

Knowledge about environmental conservation is an important part of the culture and therefore, it would be important if we can practice this by teaching & sharing information with the children because we all know the children are our future and they do look up to us. I have found the youth great ambassadors of trees growing programs and work closely with institutions and Ministry of Environment to increase our forest cover actions.

Do you think social media can be used to promote nature conservation?

Yes, because we are the times of digital marketing and social media platforms are what we should be venturing into to share our ideas and education to the world. The world is going through a difficult recession but digital communications is the new trends . The youth can join many global programs to conserve our Mother Earth.

What are some of the emphasis that should be put on social media when promoting nature conservation?

There is a need for the development of ecological activities, including the need to protect and develop forests and other issues related to environmental protection, protection of natural, biological ecosystems. We must encourage more young people to visit the parks and learn about protecting wildlife. This is our heritage and brings millions of tourists earning revenues .

What will the young generation learn from the promotion of nature on social media?

By using social media, everybody and especially the younger generation has the chance to learn more about nature conservation in a way that they can relate to and engage in national geographics among other programs . Thus, helping in conserving the environment & biodiversity and making a difference to the world. I strongly believe many small actions support bigger success globally.

Chris Diaz at the Olpajeta conservancy with the last two northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. PHOTO | COURTESY
Chris Diaz at the Olpejeta conservancy with one of the last two northern white rhinos. PHOTO | COURTESY


What other elements social media can bring in this area?

Social media platforms can be used as key marketing tools in planning and implementing social campaigns that promote the need to protect nature and milestones of success can be measured of what the youth are contributing . However we can report ecological dangers and control forest fires, global warming and promote ocean life conservation.

Would it be better for everyone if countries are governed by scientific rules rather than political decisions?

Well, in my opinion, it is obvious that both are essential for the development of any country as the role of scientists and politicians is completely different in my opinion however both should govern a country keeping in mind that, human dignity and human happiness should be above all else. It comes down to every human is a born leader and we must team up for future generations to have a cleaner greener world .

If we take a sneak peek and investigate the Amazon, it is without a doubt the greatest river in the world, also, the world’s richest and most-varied biological reservoir, containing several million species of insects, plants, birds, and other forms of life, many still unrecorded by science.

Do you think nature conservation and biodiversity can be developed?

It should be common knowledge that nature conservation and biodiversity are complementary to each other. Conservation always leads to restoration or enhancement of biodiversity. Nature conservation will occur when the human species recognise their integral tie to nature, not only as a user but as a major part of the system.

Describe the role of wildlife corridors in preserving and increasing biodiversity

The wildlife corridors are critical for the movement of the animals to follow their natural path for food and breeding. In the case, the 8th wonder of the world the annual migration of wildebeest between the Mara and Serengeti not only preserving biodiversity which is very important but also the entire food chain depends on the magical movements of the wildlife. The corridors also are famous for tourism earnings and we need to grow and protect the natural corridors. The endangered species crossing such corridors need to be protected to increase their populations.

We have human-wildlife conflicts that destroy the corridors and stress the animals. As a means to decrease human-animal conflict in the form of vehicle-animal collisions and help battle the negative effects of habitat disintegration.

Diaz at the Amboseli National Park. PHOTO | COURTESY
Diaz at the Amboseli National Park. PHOTO | COURTESY


Tell us about renewable energy..

I am a strong agenda driver for renewable energy for the future and continued development of Africa that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally available including carbon-neutral sources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

The most popular renewable resources are, however, solar, wind, hydro/water, geothermal, and biomass and this is touching lives especially allowing people now with internet and technology to enhance improvement of livelihoods and access to online education especially during the pandemic we have new trends.

When we look at our magical country Kenya we find that it has promising potential for power generation from renewable energy sources. Rich solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal resources led the government to seek the expansion of renewable energy generation to central and rural areas.

Following a least-cost approach, the government has prioritised the development of geothermal and wind energy plants as well as solar-fed mini-grids for rural electrification. We need to take these renewable energy projects to develop our country power supply and access to market and economic growth for all.

How can renewable energy benefit the environment?

We are focused on generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution. For instance, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is not impossible but it would require unprecedented transitions in all aspect of society.

Next 10 years will be critical. We need to manage global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45%from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’’ around 2050.

Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels has been a big mission for many countries and policies to support international partnerships to give all segments of private and public investments to benefit the environment and we attain the SDR global goals.

What are the resulting consequences for ecosystems and agro-biodiversity?

Excessive use of nutrients & chemical inputs to control weeds, pests and diseases and polluting environments and food.

Look at the Covid-19 suspected to have started through wildlife and eating bats in China. These markets sell weird dead animals that can contaminate and cause global pandemics which are costly to lost lives and economic devastation, loss of jobs etc.

Agriculture is the backbone of food and resources, raw materials and this will be reduced with a lack of sustainability and the poor environment resulting in massive revenue loss and ecosystems destroyed.

How will climate change alter the distribution and prevalence of diseases of wild species?

There is tremendous evidence that climate change alone, or acting synergistically with current anthropogenic threats, is affecting the health of wild populations of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

These consequences affect the terrestrial environment through shifts in phenology, vegetation cover, and fire regimes and advance pollution is killing humans and life, in general, is getting less quality. Warmer ocean temperatures, increased acidification, rise in sea levels, and reduction in sea ice cover are also leading to widespread ecological changes in marine systems and erosion of species and destruction of our important biodiversity.

How does public involvement, especially of marginalised groups, in conservation decision making shape the effectiveness of conservation interventions?

By creating partnerships between the private and the public sector to sensitise in the planting of trees we can increase forest cover and increase benefits for the world… Conservation of wildlife and how they can switch the use of energy into renewable energy which is a huge benefit to the environment. Kenya and Ethiopia are planting millions of trees through youth programs and we must do this by every school and institutions and private sector companies joining the mission to grow millions of trees and teaming up with the forestry and environmental authorities.

Finally, the decisions we make now, and mostly affect our youthful populations, will define the world we live in and for future generations, tackling climate change is critical to ensure that people around the world are healthy, prosperous, have food, clean air and water.

Your message to the youth regarding environment conservation?

My message to the youth regarding environment conservation is that they should contribute by planting trees, taking time to learn about the wildlife, the endangered species, and having passion, on how they can participate and contribute to making sure that they are protected. The future is in our hands , we must protect beautuful mother nature for future generations.

As an example, I am developing my two sons and wife to carry on my legacy to support wildlife species & education development through their foundation. This is a foundation dedicated to protecting endangered species, which will also assist in engaging community programs & creating sustainability for their communities. I wish the younger people of the world, greater success in their conservation and sustainability efforts.

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