Going Green had the opportunity to sit down with Tori Linder, Project Director, of Path of the Panther. Tori, thank you so much for being here today!
First, a bit about Tori:
Tori is the Project Director and a producer of Path of the Panther, an ambitious storytelling effort identifying the land protection and wildlife crossings needed to keep the Everglades connected to North America and save a future for the Florida Panther. Tori first got mud on her boots (field experience) in Africa. She has worked with local governments, indigenous communities and the private sector on a social enterprise model that provided communities benefits for their conservation efforts. From tagging lions and commuting in bush planes to exploring new cultures, it was a fantastic adventure. But Florida kept calling Tori back. Home needed help, too. Now, Tori is working with colleagues to tell the story of the Florida panther and in turn promote conservation of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Whether she is in murky swamp water or standing a swarm of mosquitos (sometimes both,) she is spreading the word: it’s good for us (you know, humans) to take care of our home.
What was your motivation to get into this industry?
I am a humanitarian turned conservationist. At some point while working in sustainable development in sub – Saharan Africa, I reached the realization that without a healthy environment, life is a challenge. It’s vital for the provision of fresh water, clean air and food. I’ve been working to help communities around the globe see the benefits from nature since.
Why do you think climate change/sustainability is such an important topic today?
To put simply, there is no planet b. Sustainability isn’t an option, it’s a necessity for human life on Earth. People need nature.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
In 10 years, I hope to see that sustainability is standard practices among corporations and governments alike. I think we’re getting there, albeit slowly. People are beginning to realize that caring for the environment is good for the bottom line.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Tackling challenges like climate change can seem daunting as individuals. The truth is our simple daily behaviors can actually make a tremendous difference. The greatest immediate things people can do include reducing single use plastic usage, advocating for the protection of our remaining wildlands and being conscious consumers. The latter being particularly important in regard to food choices. I’m convinced that knowing where your food comes form, how it was produced and it’s regional impact is the single greatest thing you to do to help the planet. For instance, if you live in a rainforest, being a vegan makes sense. However, if you call native grasslands, such as the prairies of the American west, home local grass-fed beef might just be one of the most sustainable things you can put on your plate.
What positive changes are you seeing?
I see a tremendous amount of hope in my work with the Florida panther. In a time when big cats across the globe are on the decline, this endangered species is making a remarkable comeback. Now it’s up to us to ensure they have the habitat and landscape connectivity they need to continue. Florida’s developing at a staggering rate of 20 acres per hour so thats no easy task but I think the public support is there to protect a viable wildlife corridor. Floridians are starting to understand that nature is vital to the survival of humans in this state.
Thank you Tori for being active in this space. To donate to Path of The Panther click here.
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