Lei is pretty darn passionate about the environment and what we can do to protect the world we live in...BONUS- he is lucky enough to get paid for it too!!
What is your job?
I am a conservation officer for the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s, Nature Conservation Covenant Program.
What does your job involve?
I get to drive all over WA, talking to landowners who want to protect the bushland they have on their properties. I’ve been as far south as Esperance, as inland as Kalgoorlie and as far north as Geraldton. I get to meet lots of amazing people who love nature and want to protect it. I’ve also had amazing opportunities to go looking for rare plants in remote outback locations, as well as trapping and hunting introduced animals.
Why are you passionate about the environment?
I grew up watching lots of documentaries about animals – it was something we did as a family. As I got older, I spent a lot of my holidays camping out in the bush, and so I’ve always loved the outdoors and being in touch with nature. I love nature and I love going out and seeing the world for its raw beauty.
In highschool, it was actually the influence of my Geography teacher, Mr Wadley that inspired me to pursue environmental studies. When I studied that at a university level, I began to understand how the earth worked, the impacts that humans have on the environment, but also what we can do to make it better.
What made you want to work in that area?
I wanted to make a difference. I wanted a job where it wasn’t about the money and I wanted a job where I would love what I do and feel like I’m contributing to society.
What did you have to study to get where you are?
I went to university and completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. But that’s only one of several paths that you can take to get into the environmental field; it really does depend on what specific aspect of the environment you’re passionate about.
What do you like to do in your everyday life to help the world around you?
I cycle to and from work, when I can; the rain usually makes it hard. I also like to recycle and reuse. I think it’s an important part of limiting the resources that we use on this planet, so I like to go op-shopping. Sometimes second-hand clothes look the best!
I also try and use as little water and electricity as possible, which is also good for the bills.
What can we do?
If you’re really interested in it, read up about it. Find out more about whatever it is that you enjoy. Maybe you like plants or animals, maybe you like the mountains or the oceans, or maybe you like growing your own vegetables. Whatever it may be, go out and seek it. Keep yourself curious and you will learn.
But the best thing you can do is to step away from that mentality of thinking that you can’t make a difference. Difference can be defined as: the state of being unlike others, or from a mathematical standpoint, the amount that remains after one quantity is subtracted from another.
You might not think that using one less plastic bag makes a difference, but that’s one less plastic bag that a sea turtle might choke on. You might not think that walking or riding to school makes a difference, but that’s one less car on the road polluting our air. You can make a difference.
Keep your eye out for posts from Lei on how to care about your environment in our Community section!