In a famous essay entitled “Walking”, the prominent American naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau expressed the wish “to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature”. He believed that “there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” Nature’s magnetism can simply seduce us and make us lose ourselves in a countryside walk, or powerfully push us to protect Mother Earth to the best of our abilities. Conservationists, such as Trang Nguyễn, are all undoubtedly under its influence.
Born in 1990, Nguyễn is a Vietnamese conservationist who was included on the BBC’s 100 Women list in 2019, as well as the 2020 edition of Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Holding a PhD in Biodiversity Management, she is the founder of WildAct, a non-profit organization helping authorities to monitor Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade markets. On their website, they claim that the industry has escalated in recent years as a result of the country’s growing urban prosperity and increased access to the global marketplace, as well as its biodiversity, culture, and location. In 2018, WildAct launched Vietnam’s first ever master’s course in Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade. Alongside all of this important work, Nguyễn is also, perhaps surprisingly, the author of several children’s books.