WILD Women at TEDx

WILD’s family is full of wonderful and talented people, including many fun, fabulous and highly-skilled women.  Just a  few of our “WILD Women” were invited to speak at TEDxVailWomen on the theme “Invented Here.” Not just technology inventions, but also new solutions to poverty; new approaches to leadership; new expressions of art and music; and, at times, the invention of our own lives. This inspirational day-long event was hosted by WILD Foundation board member, Kat Haber, and included Dr. Susan Canney, Morgan Heim, Asher Jay, and Cristina Mittermeier. Take some time to watch each of their talks – whether it be working with a local community to save a unique herd of elephants, going on a foolish adventure to research the elusive fishing cat, using art to bring awareness to conservation issues, or shining a light on indigenous people & conservation with photography- each of these women are creatively working to make a difference in the conservation field.

Dr. Susan Canney

Project Leader of the Mali Elephant Project

The elephants in Mali are unique. They live in one of the harshest environments in the world, the arid Sahel and have one of the longest migrations routes of any elephants. They are the most northerly elephant herd in Africa – the last comparable herd went extinct in the 1980s. WILD has embarked on a large-scale action and outreach program to work with local communities, government officials, tourism companies and others to help the Mali elephants, and in turn, help the people of Mali.

Susan Canney tells the story of the Mali Elephant Project to demonstrate how shifting your perspective opens up new possibilities for transforming an impossible situation. By being willing to Not Know and let go of assumptions, at the same time as doing everything to understand and respect all aspects of the situation, a better way opens up.

Morgan Heim

Multimedia Journalist & WILD Foundation Trustee

Conservation photographer Morgan Heim is on a mission to connect our lives with the stories of the natural world. We save the things we care about. But how do you connect with an endangered animal that lives half a world away? In an adventure to find the elusive fishing cat, two American girls undergo a transformation that can change how we connect with the causes around us.

“Being foolish gave us the courage to keep going, even when all the logic dictated that we should stop…The foolish choice might just be the best choice you can make.”

Asher Jay

Conservation Artist & Activist, WILD Foundation Associate

By Design, Asher is a creative conservationist. She believes that our inability to perceive what has been lost to us prevents us from valuing and conserving what remains. Through both visuals and a personal narrative Asher casts a light on what she’s learned from love and loss.

A staunch supporter of animal rights, wildlife conservation and sustainable development, Asher found herself using her fashion, art and writing to raise awareness. Over the years she has produced several graphic campaigns, written many narratives, and pieced together numerous collections and canvases to eloquently elucidate the serious issues currently assailing our fragile planet.

Cristina Mittermeier

Conservation Photographer, Founder of the iLCP & WILD Foundation Board Member

A conservationist with a camera and a passionate opinion, Cristina Mittermeier has dedicated her career to convince others of the imperative to protect our planet. In 2008, she founded the International League of Conservation Photographers at the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Anchorage, Alaska.

Enoughness, how much is enough? Cristina Mittermeier shows her stunning images of indigenous peoples to shine lights on conservation issues and places where healthy ecosystems remain. In her talk, Cristina tells us that contentment is long lasting and comes from inside- she defines it as an internal yard stick. Humor is a great way of building enoughness. Her images remind us “that when all the rivers have been dammed, and all the forests have been turned into chopsticks, and when the last wild creature has been hunted for their trophy, we will all be a lot poorer.”

1 Comment (Post Comment)
Kat Haber says:

Enoughness and foolishness are rarely words uttered in relation to saving the wildest parts of our planet, but Cristina and Mo deliver us to a deeper humanity, moving us and turning their ideas into our personal actions. Prediction: we will hear much, much more from artivist Asher Jay as she pulls us passionately, humorously and horrifically to stare straight into the face of the dire consequences of cultural norms killing wild species. Dr. Canney’s appeal for collaborative action leading to life saving collective impact has lessons for global conservationists: slow down, listen to build shared ownership of solutions, and shift perspective.

As curator and organizer for TEDxVailWomen, I am grateful for the year these women dedicated to delivering their one big idea to the world in the most meaningful way possible in this moment. They google+hungout together, cried, gave positive feedback, iterated endlessly their perfect visuals, researched diligently statistics, laughed at their personal stories, journeyed through dark explorations of what it all really meant and was it worth the saying. They embarked courageously on their Shero’s Journey and emerged changed and changing the world with them.

Naturally, we’re honored to have them be TEDxVailWomen.

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