I have recently been exposed to a lot of ignorance of, and apathy towards wild places and wild lives; and now I find myself asking the question of how I can educate or inspire others to heighten their awareness of the natural phenomena around them and to cultivate a deeper appreciation for their wild neighbors. I’m sure that this is a question that many users of iNaturalist are grappling with, so I wanted to post this here so that we can share ideas about educating and inspiring others.
I have a neighbor who has a massive lawn, yet she berated me for harvesting common milkweed as food, because I was “taking from the monarch butterflies”, and yet she has not a single milkweed plant for every place on her property where they could grow is mowed half an inch high! She later decided to put in a fence around her lawn, and I warned her that there were catbird nests in the shrubs that were to be cleared, she said that she “would never get in the way of any bird”, and yet the nests were destroyed when the shrubs were cleared and the fence was put in anyway. This is an example of someone who I try to educate, yet she doesn’t seem to take much away from these discussions despite claiming to be very concerned with the environment. I think it is some combination not knowing and not wanting to know that drives people to do really bad things while thinking that they are doing good. How do you work with people like this?