At first Glance, Victoria Wangui looks delicate which makes it easy for someone to underestimate her. She is small, has an innocent laugh and a quiet demeanour. But underneath all that she chooses to show you is a raging storm and a quest to make the world a better place. She is an environmentalist, a cause she has taken on dutifully, almost bordering obsession. Almost.
In her mid-year musings, Victoria writes, “Knowing that you don’t have to rush to connect with nature because green spaces are there gives a different perspective. This will only happen if we protect them by being the voice of a space that speaks metaphorically through climate change, floods and disease.”
Victoria reckons that the ecosystem can flourish without humans, and so we owe it, as we live on borrowed space. We had a conversation with this wildlife champion, and this is what she had to say.
Give us a brief profile of yourself.
I have a background in Wildlife Management and Conservation with major interests in ecology, education and community conservation. Technically, I studied finding a way to balance the needs of humans with the needs of wildlife and the environment using Science.
Share something interesting about yourself.
I wanted to be a cardiologist when I was young because medical series’ made medicine look so simple until chemistry showed me Biology belongs in my heart.
What was your first phone?
Samsung E1150. I still have it but the charger got spoilt.
What attracted/ inspired you into blogging?
At first, it was an online journal where I wanted to share stories from the field and my travel experience. Then it became a platform to share my general opinion about wildlife conservation, highlighting current environmental issues and sharing, through my experience, what people can do to conserve our environment.
What accomplishments are you proud of most?
I’ve met many people through my blog and even inspired others to be involved in wildlife conservation. I am also constantly motivated by them. In the beginning, my goal was, if I can only change one person’s view or move them to think critically about our environment, then I have done what Nyika Silika was meant to do, and it has.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Optimistic. Passionate. Kind.
What is your fav food, song, book, and movie?
Favourite food is anything with potatoes. I can’t pick a favourite song, maybe an artist, P!nk. I have all her albums. Favourite book is Unbowed by Wangari Maathai which reminds me every day to continue the fight for environmental and social justice. I believe Wangari Maathai paved the way and we owe it to her legacy to live up to it and make today’s world even better, every day, through the little things we do.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
A time when dinosaurs, mammoths and Saber-toothed tigers roamed the earth. Did you know birds are living dinosaurs? (No we did not! Thank you for that tidbit of information)
If you were not a blogger, what would you be instead?
I would be in conservation, which I am fortunate enough to be in. My environmental blogging is still linked to what I do and what I intend to do in the future. I’ve always been interested in wildlife and our environment from a young age and I don’t see myself doing anything else. Through this, I hope to create the needed education and awareness; you can still be a journalist, doctor, pilot or whatever you choose as a career path and still cherish our environment and protect it.
Where do you see yourself, in five years?
I’m the co-founder of a growing platform, Biophilic Conversations, which is inspiring the youth to be actively involved in the conservation community in Africa and drive change in their own way. I’ve also taken an interest in wildlife photography and film making and I’m currently working towards publishing a book.
Any interesting hobbies, obsessions?
I enjoy hiking, camping and bird watching. For a long time, I’ve been obsessed with motorbikes and Formula Racing.
Is there a quote/mantra you live by?
‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ – Mahatma Gandhi
If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
I would want to experience every super hero’s strengths and weaknesses because there is so much to discover from each one of them.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Fill your cup. You can’t help anyone if you don’t help yourself first. Always be kind to yourself and choose you first.