Ecowarrior, conservationist, and advocate for all animals

Lauren Valentine recalls her journey from an ordinary life in London to being an eco-warrior, conservationist, and advocate for all animals.

Now I know most people have heard a phrase similar to “volunteering changed my life” and feel it is a little cliché, however I for one can’t disagree with this statement. After arriving home from volunteering in Africa I felt like I had reconnected with my former self. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and my desire to work with animals has been with me from being a very young age. Little did I know that 18 months down the line I would have made so many changes to my lifestyle.

I first volunteered with Cheetah Outreach, a non-lethal predator control project in South Africa, that uses Ambassador animals to raise awareness. One year later, I arrived at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) in Malawi. The LWC is a sanctuary for animals from old zoos, and animals who are rescued but not suitable for release. But the majority of the work they do involves rescuing orphaned or injured animals with the aim of releasing them. Both projects run educational outreach projects within local communities.  It was after these trips I realised I wasn’t doing enough to help these voiceless victims. I decided there and then that I needed to ensure I was considering animals and the environment in every walk of life.

Be the change you wish to see in the world

I became vegetarian overnight and I’m now 90% vegan. I changed all my cosmetics and toiletries to products from cruelty-free companies. I signed up to multiple courses to continue to educate myself on the issues I had seen first-hand in Africa. These courses included Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Edinburgh University), a Zoology Diploma, and Introducing Conservation (WildAid). At work I am vigilant regarding recycling and have actively involved myself in the Environmental Committee. On top of this I have decided to help educate others as there is still a distinct lack of education around global and local animal and environmental issues. I have recently written two presentations around the subject of wildlife crime and responsible tourism/volunteering.

Ecowarrior, conservationist, and advocate for all animals

The past 18 months have been a whirlwind of change, change that I hate to admit, was long overdue. I now wonder to myself how I could nurse one species at work to then come home and eat another for dinner. I am now also so conscious of my carbon and biodiversity footprint.  All in all, I have gone from a quite ordinary life as a veterinary nurse in London to ecowarrior, conservationist, and advocate for all animals. 

I want to empower and educate, I want to encourage others to reflect on their own lives to see if the difference they want to make in the world can actually be started in the home. As professionals we are great at advising others but are we really that great at taking our own advice? 

 

* This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog belong solely to the blog owner and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of World Animal Protection.