Students, teacher discuss wildlife protection, ways to help environment


Saumya Somasi

Junior Ali Schuman takes her gecko out of its cage. Schuman said even though her gecko is confined to staying inside, having pets has helped her connect to wildlife and understand the difficulties associated with taking care of pets.

Eddie Sun, Student Section Writer

World Wildlife Conservation Day, which is on Dec. 4, has been around since 2012. Its purpose, based on a pledge by the U.S State Department, is to protect wild animals by encouraging protection for species around the world.

Locally, Connor Daniels, founder of the Environmental Management Club and senior, said his goal is to restore the old forested trail next to the school to provide a beautiful and healthy greenspace for the community.

Wildlife affects me specifically by making common experiences interesting,” He said. “A normal day mowing the lawn can be drastically improved by watching squirrels chase each other down a tree, or walking in the morning becomes exciting when I see a pair of deer in the distance. It makes me remember that there’s more on this planet than just humans, which is easy to forget in Carmel, Indiana.”

Apart from the Environmental Management Club, Daniels said he immerses himself in nature simply by hiking and picking up any trash he sees along the trails. 

He said, “The longer you spend in nature the more aware you become of its problems.”

Junior Ali Schuman, a member of Green Action Club said she believes humans destroy the environment. Schuman, who owns a crested gecko – a species once thought to be extinct – said,  humans strive for innovation and big developments within society, but they ultimately harm wildlife, destroying homes and causing harm to the environment. 

Schuman said, “Humans take away the homes of a lot of animals to make room for their homes and the vacated animals are going to suffer because of it. This also goes sort of hand in hand with many species who are becoming extinct either because of loss of environment, poaching or excessive hunting, and a lot more reasons.”

Daniels said he agreed with this statement, and is aware that humans have a negative effect on wildlife, especially as unawareness runs prevalent.

“The biggest threat to our natural world is large corporations that have been left unchecked, and this is someone who loves business and plans on working for corporations in the future,” he said. “A thousand people trying to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible wouldn’t even begin to counteract the carbon footprint created by one large corporation. The best way to save our planet is to pressure legislators to pass stricter environmental laws on corporations.”

To illustrate, in 2019 according to Bill Wirtz, a reporter for FEE,  2.3 million animals were killed and 2.24 million acres were burned as a result of over 40,000 wildfires caused by humans. Small things such as picking up pieces of trash while walking, posting on social media about environmental hazards, volunteering within a community, or even supporting a local organization that restores wildlife can lead to a better and more healthy future for society. 

Daniels said invasive species contribute to the way humans affect wildlife.

“Well we affect wildlife and their habitats in many ways,” he said. “We are the reason invasive species are introduced into environments where they have no competition. All trash found in their habitats originates from humans. Our growing population often destroys their ecosystems for land development. Nearly every action done by humans has some effect on the environment.”

Saumya Somasi

Both Daniels and Schuman said humans have the biggest responsibility towards the deterioration of our environment, from companies and emissions causing massive carbon footprints to the cutting down of trees within forests destroying homes of many animals.With that in mind, Daniels offered some suggestions for people to help.

“The obvious ways are to recycle and simply use less but that’s been heard many times. Something that I think most people do not hear is to write a quick email to your state’s office holders. You don’t need to suggest policy or research and write an argumentative essay, just state your concerns for the environment. Let them know what you think as a citizen that they are obligated to represent” Daniels said.

Kara House, an AP Environmental Science teacher, said, “The best ways to combat negative effects across the environment are picking up trash and just interacting with the environment in a positive way. People need to become aware of the detrimental causes from our daily actions and remind people daily of the harms we are doing to wildlife. We must come together and all help out the environment in any way possible.”

Daniels said he agreed and promotes awareness for wildlife globally. 

Daniels said, “My message, for someone at home, would be to just spend more time with nature. While most people care for the environment and want to help it, it’s easy to forget why. Being in nature helps me find inspiration to try to protect it.”