Margrit and Russ Harris
During one of those reflective moments in 2009, I found myself asking a life changing question.
“What would I regret most if I died tomorrow?”
Hmm! I’ve been married to my best friend for over 30 years, raised three amazing children, have had rewarding career opportunities, owned my dream home, served my God in church service, enjoy five grandchildren…
The answer surprised me.
What I would regret most if I died tomorrow??? That I’d done nothing for the wildlife of my homeland.
Devastation in the Philippines
You see, in the summer of 2007, my husband Russ and I returned from the Philippines where we spent five years assisting in humanitarian and leadership projects. During that time I was appalled and deeply troubled by the devastation and exploitation of the environment and wildlife.
I saw everything that moved, from song bird to iguana, being trapped, grilled and eaten or tied with rope, hung upside down and sold on the roadside. Some scientists have concluded that environmentally the Philippines is a lost cause. In his book, Requiem for Nature, John Terborgh writes, the “overpopulated… Philippines are already beyond the point of no return.”
On coming back to the USA I swore that I wasn’t going to allow the same fate to befall my beloved homeland and its greatest treasure, the wildlife. But what could I do? I was stymied.
“Africa‘s game parks have lost well over half of their big mammals… since 1970” REUTERS
“Another rhino found dead… poaching is on the rise.” News24 (Over 330 killed for their horns last year in South Africa)
News flashes like this troubled and overwhelmed me.
Can you believe that when I was born there were over 450,000 lions in the world. Now there are less than 20,000 and declining rapidly.
Time to Take Action
It was Russ who finally triggered the action. In March 2010 he looked at me with those clear blue eyes and said, “We have loads of experience in business, nonprofits, and teaching kids… we just need to jump in and figure it out as we go.”
An incredible journey began.
- The right people started showing up to create this global community of people who care.
- We went to South Africa for 34 day putting 4560 miles on a rental car and discovered the struggle of the few aging dedicated experts to protect the wildlife and the challenge of raising up the next generation of wildlife champions to take their place.
- An inspired process emerged that can make a difference now and in the future.
Thanks for considering joining our community to save the wildlife and the kids in South Africa.