By now you probably know that bats positively impact ecosystems worldwide and help combat climate change, but did you know that bats are helping humans stay inspired and avoid climate fatigue?
Repeated predictions of disappearing coastline and species extinction have resulted in climate fatigue among even the most ardent nature lovers. People exhausted by the doom and gloom can feel hopeless and powerless to make a difference. So how do we keep the conversation going and create change without burning out?
Animal influencers to the rescue!
We were delighted to share Merlin’s “Win Friends, not Battles” approach on the SXSW Interactive Climate Track this March, and to share the stage with three leading animal influencers on our panel, Animal Influencers as a Way Out of Climate Fatigue.
Our panel showed that unassuming animals, like bats, octopuses, bobtail squids, and luna moths, are able to inspire people to change their perspectives and feel motivated to help protect the planet we all share. We can make great progress simply by sharing the truth. Bats are mysterious to many – making them not only easy scapegoats for scary speculation but also fantastic attention grabbers. People rarely protect what they don’t understand, so educating humans is one of the best ways to help animals and subsequently save ourselves and the planet.
Big changes can come from small conversations. Merlin shared his long-time successful conservation philosophy of “winning friends not battles” and the worldwide audience immediately picked up the torch. Several folks stayed behind after the panel waiting to talk with Merlin and get specific advice and input on their conservation and climate concerns. We then invited everyone to walk with us to the bridge, hoping to see a beautiful bat emergence. Although the bats didn’t come out until it was dark and visibility was minimal, we enjoyed sharing stories, advice, and goals for the future. Merlin (and his cat Zuri) especially enjoyed his gift of a giant stuffed octopus from Warren!
- Texas bats conservatively save farmers $1.4 billion annually in avoided pesticide use!
- Did you know without bats we might not have margaritas? Bats pollinate the agave from which tequila is made.
- Free-tailed bats can fly thousands of feet above ground to intercept insect pests and fly at 100 miles an hour!
- Bats form long-term friendships and have social systems similar to those of primates!
Bats as animal influencers around the world…
Learn more about our co-panelists and their animal influencer work:
Teresa Nichta is the Collections and Outreach Manager and a Co-Founder of Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation.