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Raven Pietersen

2019 intern

Raven Pietersen has a talent for inspiring others through her words and actions. This is most evident in her passion for contributing to environmental resource conservation.
She is a Conservation Scientific Officer intern at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and is currently a Master of Science candidate in Environmental and Water Science at the University of the Western Cape.
We asked her to share more about her environmental roots:
What motivated your career choice?
As a child, I loved being outdoors and immersing myself in nature. I spent most of my time chasing after tiny animals or swimming in the ocean. As I grew older, I watched nature-related television programmes like National Geographic and was fortunate to be taught by incredibly passionate science teachers. These factors gave direction to my interest in the natural world.
During my university career, this passion evolved into the desire to contribute to the conservation of our natural resources.
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
I hope to enrich my career with the experience and exposure I gain during my internship. As I continue my journey, it is important for me to remember why I am doing this work and I feel that what I do at SANBI is definitely re-instilling my sense of purpose.
What excites you the most about the internship?
I am in a unique position that encourages a diversity of opinions and it has been amazing to have so many experts to learn from. It is exciting that the WWF internship also provides skills-orientated workshops that help graduates prepare for many aspects of the working world that they may be unfamiliar with.
What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
The biggest environmental issue is the belief held by many people that the world will continue to provide for us regardless of what we do to it. We will only be able to create positive change when people accept responsibility for their actions.
What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
Professionally I want to contribute to existing research to further our understanding of complex situations involving water and other natural assets. Personally I want to be more mindful of my own impacts on the planet’s health.
If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would change people’s perceptions of the world we live in, making it possible for every person to understand the interconnectedness of our planet’s ecosystems and how their behaviour impacts on these systems.
Who do you admire the most and why?
I admire creative people who produce meaningful content that inspires others and use their social media platforms to promote and encourage positive environmental habits. For example, filmmaker and activist Jack Harries and his brother, Finn.
What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
My generation is able to act as a driver of environmental change through our pursuit of knowledge, our careers and how we conduct ourselves every day. The main difference between us and the previous generation is our growing access to social media and information that makes it easy to communicate with a large, global audience.

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