During one lecture at Stanford, Nichols implored graduate students to remember that, as conservation- ists, "we have the power of happiness on our side."
NOT LONG AGO, I took my two-year-old son to the Academy of Sciences. Almost from the moment we got inside, he was running—past alligators in a pond and snakes in terrariums, up the path that winds around the four-story-tall rainforest exhibit and its free-flying birds and butterflies, around two life-size model giraffes, all while eating crackers.
Only when we descended the stairs to the Philippine reef did his pace slow. He walked past a couple of smaller windows and came to a halt in front of the massive panoramic view, the cool blue light in the room fluttering about him as shafts of sunlight pierced the water. On one of the benches facing the window, a young mother nursed her infant. People milled about, whispering. My son put his hands on the window and stared without moving or talking for a full 30 seconds—an eternity in toddler time.
Then he spun around, looked me in the eye, and said, “I want to go in there!”