1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?
There was no specific interaction having had the biggest impact. It was rather a process and a chain of events/emotions impacting me so that I found myself fond of nature and wanting to be one of its advocates. E.g. spending much time outside, having had a pet cat, affinity for hiking and spending my civil service (instead of joining the Army in
2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?
Close to our backyard was a small forested creek in which I used to play, build dams, be a pirate etc.
Now? There are several favorite places - what links them is a feeling of remoteness, being by oneself, embraced by nature but not threatened.
3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?
Again, there is no single favorite animal. It is more about the diversity including own affections and also disgust, fear and love etc. As a child my favorite living animal was the blue whale, my favourite extinct animal Brachiosaurus.
4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?
Good question! Well, the greatest environmental challenge of today as well as of tomorrow is our own attitude towards nature, our own greediness, never-ending desire to let economies grow, to achieve luxury and high income - scattered around those different threats like climate change, pollution, habitat destruction etc. are very important. But we have to focus on the driving forces. Most if not all of these "battles" have to be fought in human psychology, interactions, education and efficiency/sufficiency. Again, it's the knowledge-action-gap that must be overcome!
5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?
Treat it as if it were your son or daughter - protect it, let it grow, pave the way for its development, assist it, love it and take care for it knowing that it also will be there for you one day...