Amanda Levine

Various factors motivated my desire to be involved in this internship, but it all started when I traveled to Zambia and Botswana with my family and some friends last summer. In Zambia we stayed at a “wilderness” hotel out in the bush. One day while out on a safari, our guide drove us to an area where we could see rhinos. When we got there I was shocked to learn that six poachers with rifles guarding three rhinos. I did not realize that rhinos were under threat, much less was it even necessary for these extreme precautions to protect them. I later learned that there were seven rhinos in total left in the entire country of Zambia, and the reason for these numbers was due to poaching.

A few months later my Dad sent me a notice about this internship, because he knew that I would be interested to learn about it even if I didn’t partake myself. I read the article and was interested, but didn’t think much of it. A few weeks passed and while I was on a train from Italy going back to school, I watched an ItunesU video created by National Geographic. It was called Borneo: Paradise Under Siege by Mattias Klum. He documented the beauty of Borneo, but also the massive destruction of the forest that was taking place. There was one photo of an orangutan wandering in a destroyed, treeless, and in a litter filled forest. This photo had a profound impact on me, as it was then that I realized how much my self and others take the earth, and its natural resources for granted. I realized that myself, and others don’t appreciate or even care about the lives of other creatures because we do not find it relevant to ourselves, and this revelation was extremely disappointing.Mattias said in the lecture that he could not live with himself without trying to make a difference, and I realized that I felt the same way. I have always preached to people that we need to protect the planet, but have not necessarily put that into action. The minute I got back to my dorm I called my parents and said that I needed to partake in this internship. They did not understand why exactly, because even I was having trouble comprehending and putting into words exactly what I felt. All I knew was that I felt an overwhelming urge to go, learn, and actually do something.

Mattias also talked about how he believes a picture and film could make a difference. I have always believed the same as I watch so many documentaries; my friends even make fun of me. I am also not always the most eloquent with my words, so showing people what I see through photography is a better way for me to show other people what I experience, and have them create their own ideas or emotions around that. I thought that this internship was an amazing opportunity to learn how to show people around the world through film, photography, or social media a major issue that is going on, as well as make a difference. SAVE THE RHINOS!

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