This is possibly my saddest blog post to date and is written with tears pouring down my shocked face. It must be written though if only for me to put my thoughts down for my own sake. In the last few days the world has lost a conservation legend, John Sawyer, CEO of the National Biodiversity Network. I first came across John through his Twitter account and was always struck by how down to earth he was. He seemed to be unlike many other conservation NGO chief execs in the way that you could tell he had this huge passion for wildlife and that drove him. I then heard him speak at a regional conference last year and really enjoyed his talk. A few months ago I was contacted to ask if I would speak at the NBN conference which is now 1.5 weeks away, John and Mandy from the NBN had seen some potential in me to give my perspective on the world and speak in front of hundreds of people. I was initially apprehensive and still am as it will be a huge event, but I can’t turn it down.
I then got to have a chat with John at the Response For Nature launch event and soon realised that he is one of the most down to earth, warm hearted conservationists I have met. He told me to pick someone in the room and we would work out together how I could get a job like that. He also was a huge fan of A Focus on Nature and wanted to do what he can to use NBN to promote the youth conservation movement. Sadly he won’t get to see those two aspirations come to fruition, and I don’t think without him it ever will. My sincere condolences go to his friends, family, colleagues and the hundreds of lives that he must have made better. I will always remember the last things he said to me, no matter what. He said how I could achieve anything I want and that he truly believes in me. This week, the world lost a hero.