Despite being exhausted and discouraged, I’ve also found joy and inspiration in the little victories, and that’s been firing me up lately. Over the last month I’ve been alone (and sometimes lonely…) in a little cabin in the desert, but every smile, laugh and magical, fleeting moment has reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for. I’ve also been taking daily trips through my archives, reliving some of the natural wonders I’ve been privileged to witness, and that has served as a welcome escape from the noise, anxiety and uncertainty.

As much as I gripe about the selfishness and entitlement that is so prevalent on social media (and beyond…), this platform has also allowed me to connect with a number of amazing photographers, filmmakers and conservationists. Some of these folks have opened my eyes to issues that I never knew existed, while others have helped me understand the opposing side of the causes I fight for. Rather than labeling poachers as the scum of the earth, perhaps we should understand why they might resort to killing endangered animals to support their families. What is really broken — and how can we fix it? When we take the time to dig deep into these issues, we’ll see that education, policy reform and starting on a local level are key to making progress. Oh, and it’s going to be very uncomfortable.

But life has been very uncomfortable lately. Perhaps this is the warning we needed, and maybe someday, it will all make a difference. Even if we don’t believe that, holding on to hope and connecting with others with the same wishes as fears is what is going to get us through this. And maybe in the process we’ll experience some really incredible things, because Mother Nature is capable of giving just as much as we are capable of taking. If the earth can find a way, surely we can too...