AM: WWF’s mission is to create a world where both people and nature thrive. But it’s also more than that—we need to help people reconnect with their love for and commitment to protecting the planet. How would you put those ideas together in the context of a more inclusive world for LGBTQIA+ and other communities? What will it take to reach that goal so that it includes all people, rather than just a lucky few?
JA: I think, really, it’s about making sure that those of us with power are living up to what we say about amplifying voices giving people opportunities in a way that’s profoundly uplifting them as opposed to making ourselves look good. It’s about being selfless in a lot of ways.
We need to partner and collaborate across the world in a way in which you’re respectfully giving people opportunities to research in their own backyards. Those of us with access to power can provide support. We can make sure that their voices and their names are acknowledged.
Personally, I try to mentor diverse students or early-career scientists and give them the opportunities they need to gain credibility in the field. It’s the only way to offer access to where these decisions are being made and to diversify who has influence and power. That’s what science and conservation need.
That’s ultimately what we all need. We need people—folks of diverse and intersectional backgrounds, more specifically—to get in these positions and make decisions. That also extends to the queer community—making sure that we’re represented in the room and that the tools that we need are given to us.