Skip to main content
Spotify for Podcasters
Nature Solutionaries

Nature Solutionaries

By Veronika Perkova

Podcast about conservationists who do amazing things for nature and bring inspiration into our lives.
Available on
Apple Podcasts Logo
Google Podcasts Logo
Spotify Logo
Currently playing episode

František Příbrský: Let's Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Pangolins and Slow Lorises

Nature SolutionariesJan 12, 2021

800,000 Seeds of Hope Planted in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

800,000 Seeds of Hope Planted in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

800,000 native trees. This is how many seeds of hope conservationists from Brazilian nonprofit REGUA have planted on degraded lands in the Atlantic Forest over the last two decades  – one of the biologically richest forests in the world. And that’s not all!

The dedicated team managed to buy land that once used to be a farm and patch up fragmented pieces of forests to create an 11,000 hectare nature reserve. In this interview, Micaela Locke, the Research and Communications Coordinator at REGUA, talks about land restoration, native tree reforestation, building corridors for wildlife, reintroducing tapirs, and safeguarding a vital watershed for 2.5 million people in Rio de Janeiro.

Dec 01, 202346:16
Should a Vocal Minority Dictate Women’s Futures?

Should a Vocal Minority Dictate Women’s Futures?

Being able to make decisions about when or whether to have children is among the most fundamental human rights. 

Yet when it comes to women and their bodies, suddenly so many people – complete strangers – feel they have the right to tell women what to do, like, “Contraceptive use is against our religion! “Abortion is a sin!” And so on.

And even though having bodily autonomy makes women healthier, happier, and wealthier, we’re still living in a world where we deny 44% of women autonomy over their options related to having sex, using contraceptives and seeking reproductive healthcare. 

An alarming number for sure!

In this interview with Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, the CEO and President of PAI, we speak about the whole-societal benefits of providing women reproductive rights, the impacts of repressive reproductive policies and the impetus to join the sisterhood fight. 

Nov 01, 202330:07
What Every Conservationist Should Know: A Lesson From Madagascar

What Every Conservationist Should Know: A Lesson From Madagascar

In Madagascar, where people depend on natural resources to survive, yet 75% live in extreme poverty, protecting nature is a big challenge. That's why conservation organizations are starting to realize that they can't only protect animals but must also address the well-being and health of communities living nearby protected areas. 

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust provides a wonderful example of the holistic approach to conservation. By improving food security, financial independence and reproductive health in local communities, Durrell achieved more widespread support for conservation and now, the populations of bamboo lemurs and Madagascar pochards (a rare duck species) are on the rise!

Listen to my interview with Hanitra Rakotojaona (from Durrell) and Nantenaina Andriamalala (from the PHE Madagascar Network) about building powerful partnerships and integrated approaches to conservation.

Oct 01, 202332:17
4 Steps to Empowering Women Everywhere: A Lesson From Venezuela

4 Steps to Empowering Women Everywhere: A Lesson From Venezuela

Getting access to birth control — or any reproductive healthcare in a country in shambles — is harder than you can imagine. And that is especially true for families that live hand to mouth. But nothing is impossible, especially when there’s good will and a great team. Turimiquire Foundation has been able to help low-income women in northeastern Venezuela get better access to family planning as well as education and sustainable livelihoods. Steven Bloomstein, the co-founder, president, and only man in a fully women-run organization, talks about the needs of Venezuelan women and the global fight for women’s empowerment.  

Aug 31, 202335:55
The Fight for Girls' Education and Family Planning in Niger
Jul 31, 202329:18
Here’s Why Mountain Gorillas in Uganda Are Thriving

Here’s Why Mountain Gorillas in Uganda Are Thriving

Uganda’s first wildlife vet and award-winning conservationist, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, shares her personal story about how her organization “Conservation Through Public Health“ has contributed to a steady growth of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. That’s in addition to a major improvement in community health, a threefold increase in family planning use, and new opportunities for people living around the park to thrive in coexistence with gorillas and other wildlife.   

In this 30-minute interview, we touch on:  

  • How the nonprofit incorporates public health and family planning into conservation

  • How to prevent the spread of diseases between humans and gorillas

  • Why improving public health and hygiene helps communities and gorillas thrive

  • How they achieved an increase of contraception from 22% to 67%

  • Why ecotourism is great for local livelihoods but can’t be the only option 

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (1970) is one of the leading conservationists and scientists working to save the endangered mountain gorillas of East Africa. Her NGO Conservation Through Public Health promotes coexistence of gorillas, other wildlife, humans, and livestock. For her outstanding environmental and humanitarian work, Gladys has received a number of awards from the United Nations, Sierra Club and Edinburgh International Science Festival. Her memoir “Walking With Gorillas: The Journey of an African Wildlife Vet” came out in March 2023. 


Jul 01, 202333:36
How Filipino NGO preserves nature and improves people’s lives

How Filipino NGO preserves nature and improves people’s lives

Natural conservation and making improvements in the health and livelihoods of our communities are not at odds, although sometimes it feels this way. In reality, they are inherently connected. For example, in many rural communities where access to quality health services is low and jobs are few and far between, poverty-stricken people depend on exploiting natural resources to survive, which actually harms their quality of life long-term. Luckily, there is a better way of doing things that doesn't force communities to choose between their livelihoods and local flora and fauna.

The Population, Health and Environment approach proposes a way to improve access to reproductive health, while also helping people find alternative livelihoods, sustainably manage natural resources and preserve ecosystems. The nonprofit PATH Foundation Philippines, which has reached hundreds of thousands of Filipinos with its programs, is one of the pioneers of this approach.

Joan Castro, the Executive Vice President of this organization, talks about:

  • How sexually transmitted diseases, poverty, natural degradation and population growth are interconnected
  • Why it makes more sense to address all the issues through an integrated approach rather than individually
  • How PATH Philippines tackled food insecurity problems and resource depletion in two biodiversity spots 
  • How they made family planning services accessible 24/7 by using small convenience stores instead of only village clinics
  • How they addressed harmful social norms and misconceptions about contraception
  • How they helped to improve management of close to 2,000 hectares and to establish 44 marine protected areas
  • Where else the PHE approach is applied

Joan Castro is a licensed physician, who has more than 20 years of experience in sustainable and community development initiatives in rural and urban settings in the Philippines. Joan serves as the Executive Vice President of PATH Foundation Philippines.


May 31, 202335:41
How anyone can become a solutionary for systemic change

How anyone can become a solutionary for systemic change

Many people feel desperate about the state of the world today. It’s no wonder because the number of negative news we hear is endless – biodiversity loss, resource depletion, increasing inequality, wars, and so on. The more informed we are, the more helpless we feel, thinking, “How can I make a difference?”

It turns out that all of us can make a difference if we take a solutionary approach to our work. No matter what you do - a biologist, a teacher, a gardener - you can tackle big issues  and change your field so it is more just, humane and sustainable.

In this episode, Zoe Weil, the co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, explains:

  • Why it’s important to cultivate the culture of service in our communities
  • What can local organizations do to involve young people
  • Why it’s more important to change the system rather than individuals within it
  • How you can solve pressing global issues locally
  • How you can find a meaningful career by answering only three questions
  • What a solutionary is and how you can become one yourself


Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and author of seven books and multiple TEDx talks. Zoe speaks at universities, conferences, and schools globally about how our education should go far beyond just having good grades and a diploma. She’s convinced that in today’s world with so many pressing global problems, we should give people the knowledge, tools and motivation to become change-makers for a healthy and humane world for all.

Jun 23, 202259:47
How PMC's hot soap operas improved the lives of more than 500 million people
Apr 27, 202259:45
Why freshwater fish need as much or more attention than rhinos
Mar 22, 202259:23
How family planning programs help women live better lives and get involved in local protection of nature

How family planning programs help women live better lives and get involved in local protection of nature

When Colombian conservationist Sara Inés Lara started helping women from rural communities access family planning and education and become guardians of their own environment, she got a lot of pushback from local men and conservation colleagues. After all, it was a taboo to address environmental protection, women’s empowerment and population. Seventeen years later, her NGO Women for Conservation has reached more than 2,000 women and helped the recovery of the yellow-eared parrot, which was downlisted from the IUCN Red List in 2021. More than ever, Sara is convinced that this is the correct way to do conservation.

On this episode, Sara Inés Lara and Catriona Spaven Donn, Empower to Plan Coordinator from Population Matters, talk about:

  • Why it is important to engage women in conservation
  • Why addressing conservation, family planning and population is crucial
  • How family planning programs help women have better lives and get involved in local protection of nature
  • What experience Sara and Cat have had talking about population and conservation
  • How Colombian activists saved the yellow-eared parrot

If you’d like to learn more about women's rights and environmental justice, listen to the interview “The Most Effective Conservation Strategy? Empower women”.

Sara Inés Lara founded Women for Conservation which has empowered more than 2,000 women in rural communities through conservation education, environmentally sustainable livelihoods, and access to family planning. Sara has been recognized as One in a Hundred Great Latin American Women by Billiken Magazine.

Catriona Spaven-Donn works for UK-based charity Population Matters, which supports Women for Conservation as part of their Empower to Plan Program. Cat is passionate about the intersection of women's rights and environmental justice and has worked on women’s empowerment and indigenous rights in Canada, Peru, Guatemala and Scotland.


Feb 20, 202259:01
Claire Lewis: Good news! Black rhinos and elephants are on the rise in Zambia
Jan 20, 202244:56
Robichaud: How to save saola – an animal that no biologist has ever seen
Nov 14, 202150:36
Paul R. Ehrlich: The Most Effective Conservation Strategy? Empower Women

Paul R. Ehrlich: The Most Effective Conservation Strategy? Empower Women

The impact of our growing population on nature is such a sensitive topic that nobody really dares talk about it. Better sweep it under the carpet and forget about it, right? Well, not necessarily. If you think it through, the solution is really simple and beautiful: give women full rights, opportunities and access to family-planning methods.

In this interview with Paul R. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor Emeritus of Population Studies at Stanford University, we talk about:

  • What is a sustainable population and how to achieve it
  • Why women play a key role in creating a sustainable planet
  • How we can empower women and why women still don't have equal rights
  • Why our Stone Age genes make it hard to address global issues and why we need to change culturally
  • Why we need 8 billion Greta Thunbergs and everyone to spend 10% of their time helping out society
  • What is Paul's vision of 2050
  • How hot soap operas can help us talk about overpopulation, and more.

Paul Ralph Ehrlich (*1932) is an American biologist, best known for his warnings that population growth presents an extremely serious threat to the future of human civilization. The Population Bomb, a book that he co-authored with his wife, Anne, helped start a worldwide debate on the impact of rising population that continues today. Author of 50 books and thousands of articles, Ehrlich is the Bing Professor Emeritus of Population Studies at Stanford University, President of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology and also president of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere.


Oct 19, 202151:10
Terry Spahr: Talking About Overpopulation Isn’t Sexy, But We Have to Do It
Sep 20, 202150:00
Sniegon: We Can Still Save African Elephants. Here's How
Aug 15, 202159:08
Mazariegos & Pimm: Animals in Western Andes Can Finally Find a Date
Jul 15, 202150:15
Lisa Carne & Maya Trotz: Belize Is a Shining Star of Coral Reef Restoration
Jun 15, 202101:34:18
Arjoon-Martins & Thompson: Protecting Sea Turtles and Mangrove Forests in Guyana
May 15, 202101:21:07
Hana Raza: Fighting for a Better Future for Persian Leopards in Iraq
Apr 15, 202101:15:14
Tilo Nadler: Successful Conservation of Critically Endangered Delacour's Langur
Feb 12, 202158:35
František Příbrský: Let's Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Pangolins and Slow Lorises

František Příbrský: Let's Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Pangolins and Slow Lorises

František Příbrský is a Czech conservationist and field zoologist. Since 2014, he has been running The Kukang Rescue Program.

What You Will Hear in This Interview:

- What consequences illegal wildlife trade has for animals and humans

- How animal black markets work

- What it is like to run a rescue center for pangolins and slow lorises

- How running an environmental school and a coffee project helps protect nature


- The Kukang Rescue Program

- Stolen Wildlife 

Jan 12, 202159:24