This piece was written in recognition of Earth Day, April 22, 2015, by Hera Hub member Valerie Kosheleff, Founder of Save a Horny Friend Foundation with twenty-five years of experience in wildlife conservation activism and photography, and a background in evolutionary biology, sustainability, primatology and environmental policy.

This week, and for the last 45 years, the U.S. celebrates Earth Day on April 22nd. Although rarely spoken of as a day to focus on true sustainability, which is summed as “good for people, planet and profit”, in recent years this point has moved closer to the forefront. In short, this translates to: Humans living their lives and conducting successful business in a way that does not detract from the well-being of human and nonhuman species and ecosystems.

It is ever clear that modern humans need to find creative solutions to decrease our consumption of resources and that toll on the environment, which have unquantifiable strains on both our bank accounts, as well as physical cost to the environment in which we live.

This is where coworking shines as a silent winner in sustainability – shared work spaces offer decreased need for buildings, appliances, utilities, administrative services, reference resources, etc., and promote that ever-prized goals of collective intelligence and the accelerated flow of knowledge for us all to be more successful faster.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability

Surprisingly, like coworking, biodiversity thrives with more individuals or species occupying the same complex environments. Take for example, the recent rebirth of Yellowstone National Park’s ecosystem thanks to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995. That, now healthy again, ecosystem is a great example of the complex and glorious result TZA_5194Elephant-Peering-from-Bushes-LTR-WTRMKof maintaining biodiversity in our natural environments, even when the action is to reintroduce a predatory species!

Not surprisingly, the delicate balance of biodiversity, which implies many is better than fewer, is crucial to maintain across Africa as well. The current poaching-to-extinction of the largest land mammals on the planet, the elephants and rhinos, destroys not only the health of the ecosystems, but also the livelihoods of the millions of Africans whose entire source of family income comes from the safari industry spanning the continent.

Today, it is estimated that around 100 elephants and 3 rhinos are slaughtered a day,  for the mere goal of selling their tusks and horns for huge sums of money for mere human enjoyment.

Saving the Planet One Drone at a Time

“So, how do coworking and Earth Day relate back to drones?” you ask. Having grown up in Africa, I have been active in wildlife conservation since the 1990s, an evolutionary biologist as an adult, and a member of Hera Hub for several years, I knew I was capable of launching an innovative and engaging nonprofit to curb this horrific and seemingly-endless poaching crisis. With the crisis still running amok five years after its resurgence, I used the resources and connections of my coworking space to help me learn about, manage, derive support, form partnerships and accelerate the process of launching what is one of the most, if not the most, fun solutions to wildlife conservation in the world: Save A Horny Friend Foundation!

How You Can Help on Earth Day

IMG_0562-Airware-Val-Brian-Stefan-2015-01-28Save A Horny Friend Foundation was formed after a year of intense research I independently conducted in Tanzania and Kenya, 2013-2014, where the elephant slaughter is still in full swing. Recognizing that the fight again these ruthless poachers is not hopeless, I formed the Save A Horny Friend Foundation to achieve two dire goals: 1) To stop the poachers before they get to the elephants and rhinos through the use of Africa-ready unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) / drones, and 2) Through education of those consuming ivory and horn in the United States, which makes up about 30% of the recently trafficked ivory and horn. Thus, working on both the supply and the demand ends simultaneously, we hope to make a significant difference. Although we have a LOT of fun doing it, we are still in need of everyone’s help to maintain the sustainability of the human-animal-ecosystem balance we all strive for. Join us to make this an impactful Earth Day!


Valerie HeadshotValerie Kosheleff is an evolutionary biologist, primatologist, sustainability expert, world traveler, nature photographer, and notably curious person who loves to sail, teach, play ice-hockey and listen to classical music. Her curiosity about the world and concern for the environment has taken her to 38 countries with experiences from living in the forest with wild chimpanzees to building radio collars for black rhinos. She has been an adventurer from birth and plans to stay that way.

Want to get involved with the Save a Horny Friend Foundation? You can help today by donating to their website or joining them at the April 22 Earth Day Party & Save A Horny Friend Fundraiser in the spirit of their motto – “A Fun Approach to a Serious Problem.”