Time. It seems from the very beginning of my work on great apes time became my enemy. I was always chasing it, racing against it, begging and pleading for more of it. Ya know what? no matter how many plane trips across how many timezones 24 hours a day is 24 hours a day. Once I realized that, and the inevitability of my ability to only work so many of those 24 hours each day, I had to start making choices — not always happy or perfect choices. The ultimate question, which has been there from the beginning, has always been,
how can my work influence the greatest number of people to impact the survival of great apes in the wild? My decision has finally arrived at YouTube. With over 35 billion views A DAY! creating a show there, Apes Like Us, has the potential to reach thousands initially and hopefully many more. More than books, more than magazines, more than even television. YouTube has become the most powerful communication opportunity I have to tell people around the world about the crisis apes like us face in the wild.
Rarely are projects fully formed when you dream them up — Great Apes 2020 was certainly one of those. The name changes from Great Ape Diaries to Great Apes 2020 reflected that initial change when I realized what I had gotten myself into was not your basic photographic/writing project. I struggled with the two halves of what I was finding: journalism vs advocacy. That struggle wasn’t clean and wasn’t easy. Not long after starting the project I realized the traditional story-telling options I had built a career on — magazines and books — were inadequate for conveying the crisis great apes were facing in the wild. And with every passing month I realized that crisis was one we, human-apes, were facing as well. Apes Like Us, the YouTube show/channel became the third evolution of the project and in reality the most natural. The world is changing at an insanely rapid pace. To tell stories of that change the messenger needs to keep pace. And we are after all visual creatures first, so what better way than through a visual-audio media, like YouTube.
YouTube also has the digital mobility to reach millions of kids, educators, policy-makers, conservationists, activists, the curious and the confused, all where they live and learn. That’s very cool, and I want to help make great apes a part of that experience for people. So it is all in, writing and everything else I am doing, to create Apes Like Us. Episode One launches Friday May 26, 2017, please give it a chance. Subscribe at www.youtube.com/c/apeslikeus/ (yes, ya need that silly little “c” in the middle) And in the comments tell me what you think.
I am not finished writing blog posts, far from it; at least a dozen wait patiently for me in the draft box currently. And I am writing – constantly! The writing now is largely script form. It has to be if Apes Like Us is to get off the ground and build influencing momentum.
So please join me for Episode One – at www.youtube.com/apeslikeus/