Nature conservation now: interesting facts, personal connections, and taking action – Introducing Why Conserve
Why Conserve is a personal project – ‘personal’ in that it is led by one individual, and in that it is about sharing individual, personal stories from many different people. It is an online space for inspiring conservation action. It is a platform for learning about biodiversity. And it is where we can showcase stories of our relationships and interactions with nature and conservation around the world. This is brought together as a place for presenting diverse knowledge, motivations and experiences, written by website visitors themselves, for ultimately promoting and empowering individual citizen involvement in the grand recovery of nature.
Why Conserve was very first online in 2014, when Founder Nathan Roberts from the UK, published this video introduction on YouTube. The project has since then recognised and championed the power of nature-based activities and conservation to address global concerns such as climate change and food security, and benefit our personal individual health and wellbeing – hence, Why conserve.
What does Why Conserve look like?
Why Conserve is primarily a website with user-generated content. The website has three principal components: interesting facts, personal motivations, and positive actions. It is therefore simultaneously creating a growing learning resource, representing diverse personal values of nature, and demonstrating what can be done – and is being done – by individuals. It functions similarly to Trip Advisor, but for conservation. Content is easily shareable with friends and family, and if you would like to contribute something today, simple forms are now available for online submissions: “Tell your story. Inspire the next.”
Online submission forms were introduced to the website in mid-2019, to realise the vision of a growing depository of inspirational stories to cascade and resonate with people online – cultivating the power of role models and common ground. Tania Bird in Israel is one of the first to share her story online which was titled, ‘Mainstreaming sustainability, one straw at a time!’.
Who is it for?
If the above has caught your attention or curiosity, please open the website and take a look around. For those who like posting online (or like ‘liking’ posts online), and for those who share our passion for learning and doing all that we can to conserve nature, the website is worth a shot. It is also intended to be a resource for schools and those working in education, outreach and communications. Academics and researchers, please use this opportunity to share your knowledge, work and results.
As well as a bank of interesting facts with references to scientific research and publications, Why Conserve publishes short video clips of nature on YouTube. For World Turtle Day 2019, we produced this short film, ‘Beak and Claw’, about the journey of emerging hatchlings from nest to sea and the perils faced by these magnificent small creatures on the beach.
How can I use the site or get involved?
The website is for give and take. Have a look around at whatever interests you and kindly write a comment and share the things you like. All contributors are encouraged to subscribe to the comment feed so they can see your response. If you want to share your personal motivation about why nature conservation matters to you and perhaps want to reach out to others, you can add your response to the question “Why conserve nature?”. While you are online, also consider opening up and using any of the other submission forms throughout the site, such as sharing Your Action Stories to inspire others. After all, the website was built for inspiring people like you.
What is the link with Conservation Scotland?
If you follow Why Conserve on Twitter (@whyconserve), you will see many upcoming nature-based activities and volunteering days in Scotland. This is because in 2017 we launched our ‘child project’ called Conservation Scotland as a regional hub for sharing opportunities which are free, open to all, and good for nature. The aim is to make conservation opportunities more easily accessible to people by connecting organisations and individuals in one online space, with the ultimate aim of achieving more on the ground. There are now more than 30 groups and organisations in the online community. The events calendar is available on the web, weekly email and social media. Find dates for your diary, project wish list and more here.
Conservation Scotland, the ‘child project’ of Why Conserve, has been sharing nature-based activities for more than two years. It is now looking to reach wider audiences, ramp up attention on climate change action, and engage more with local politicians and authorities. For the full calendar, go directly to this link.
Why did you join the Conservation Network of Optimists Worldwide (ConservationNOW)?
The Conservation Optimism Summit in 2017 was a great collection of people, organisations and energy. I wanted more like this, and joining the network sounded like a good idea. ConservationNOW keeps my communications on track, being realistic, optimistic and action-focused. Learn more here.
Why Conserve has been a member of the Conservation Network of Optimists Worldwide (ConservationNOW) since October 2018, sharing optimism and a focus on positive action.
We have to recognise the seriousness and urgency of both the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis. Solving these must be our priorities, now. Therefore, our goals and plans are on immediate and short-term timescales. “What is the best I can do today?” is the principal guide, picking the low hanging fruit with high impact. We currently have a card game in production (maybe you have seen the first release…). The cards are intended to address the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues and interconnectedness by engaging experts and non-experts alike in dialogue and knowledge exchange, conveying accurate information about species and ecosystems, exploring global issues and personal values, and encouraging exposure to the natural world. Want a pack of the new decks? Express your interest here.
Working together with the talented artist, Dakota Harr, we created a card game to prompt conversations about nature and positive conservation action. It was first launched in Malaysia at the 29th International Congress for Conservation Biology as part of a co-exhibition with Conservation Optimism, where it was distributed to teachers and schools, community outreach projects, and wildlife enthusiasts around the world. Look out for our new release in 2020.
That is all. Thank you so much for your kind interest. Comments, questions and ideas are most welcome.
Written by Nathan Roberts, Why Conserve / Conservation Scotland Founder
To learn and to contribute, that is what I will do today.
Inspiring conservation action at www.whyconserve.com.