Lydia Hales is originally from a smallish beachside town in Tasmania. The intensity of the landscape there is just beautiful, from the dry summer heat to the green of the bush and mountains and the starkness of the sea in winter; “It will always be home regardless of how much I love travelling”, she comments. She studied marine biology and zoology in Townsville, North Queensland and is now studying a Master of Journalism in Melbourne. She has always loved to write and will never stop being fascinated by nature, so she hopes to build a career combining the two! Her favourite rainforest animal would be a tie between any kind of wild cat and the orangutans, which she spent time with in Borneo last year.
* Click here to visit Lydia’s bloomtrigger profile!
* What inspires you?
People who are truly passionate about what they do and pursue what they want out of life. People who are selfless and who appreciate the small things. My family and my amazing and varied group of friends.
* What makes you angry?
When people are unnecessarily wasteful, or don’t appreciate what they have. It’s easy to take things for granted sometimes but it makes such a big difference when you take a moment to put things in perspective. Also, when people treat animals as though they can’t feel.
* What is your personal mission?
For more people to appreciate how truly beautiful the environment is, and to cherish each animal for the part it plays – not just the cute and cuddly ones. People will only protect what they love.
* If you were Prime Minister, what would be the first thing you’d change?
I definitely wouldn’t want to be, it would be a horribly tough job! There are so many groups that need to have their needs met. Many of the things I’d truly love to do if I was Prime Minister would be far too idealistic – I know in reality there always has to be some kind of compromise. But I’d start with the small things, which can still really go a long way.
– More education on how much of a lasting impact we can have on the planet, targeted at all age groups and organisations.
– Getting people to turn off appliances, air conditioning/heating and lighting etc when they don’t need them.
– Sticking to the promise of committing 0.5% of Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance (foreign aid) by 2015.
* Why did you agree to become a bloomtrigger ambassador?
I think the approach that Bloomtrigger has taken is really clever: so many people are on the internet, it makes sense to utilise it. Buying virtual blooms is accessible and gives people who normally might not be able to help in an environmental-based campaign a chance to contribute. Focusing on education in primary schools is also a big investment in the future and shows a commitment to instigating long-term change. I think it’s an exciting project.
* Can you describe a typical workday?
I’m still studying at the moment, so in between university, work, social life and exploring a new city I don’t really have a “typical” day to describe!
* Can you think of a place or event you have been that has really inspired you?
While I was in Borneo we went to the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok. While it wasn’t as amazing as seeing them in the wild like at the Danum Valley Field Station, there was a moment where a mother orang-utan came down to get some food with her baby. She sat on the platform and cradled her baby in front of her, then she kissed her baby on the lips. The expression on both the mother’s face and the baby’s as she looked up at her mum were so beautiful. Knowing how much these animals (and many others) have suffered, and continue to suffer, due to human practices, I felt guilt and sadness. I felt like if I did something with my life that protected this kind of beauty then it would be a worthwhile life.
* How do you define success?
Finding balance, and being at peace with yourself. Being resilient. Doing the thing that makes you feel alive. Not being consumed by “work”.
* What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
“If you really love something, find a way to do it, right now.” / “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
* What’s your favourite book or film of late?
I’m currently reading What is the What by Dave Eggers.
* If you could get anyone to become a part of the bloomtrigger project who would it be and why?
Schools everywhere – involving all age groups to spread the message.
* How do you go green in your daily life?
I’m vegetarian, but recently trying to follow a more vegan lifestyle – aside from not eating animal products, also not using cosmetics or products made from or tested on animals.
* What would you most like to happen to protect the planet?
For humans to realise that the planet and everything in it does not exist just for us to exploit. We might have higher-functioning brains but there is nothing smart about destroying the place in which you live.
* Do you have a favourite quote you can share with us?
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.” ― Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
* If you found yourself stranded in a rainforest, what is the one thing you would like to have with you?
A good pair of leech socks? They’re really interesting animals but I’m not a fan of them when they’re attached to me!
* Can you think up one more interesting question that we should be asking for this interview, but have not thought of yet and then answer it?
Addressing issues related to the environment can be somewhat overwhelming and confusing. How do you overcome these issues?
I think if you try to consider absolutely every issue then you can get caught up in it all and become overwhelmed with all the things you “should” be doing. As individuals we can’t turn the entire world around and fix every problem, but we can still have a huge and long-lasting impact. When it comes to environmental issues, reading widely and critically is important.