The many faces of conservation
In the media, narratives around nature are – more often than not – shot through with doom and gloom. Disappearing species, deforestation, plastics in the ocean, rivers running dry: reading about the natural world can make us feel helpless and overwhelmed by the scale of the damage we are doing to our planet.
But what if we shift our focus from the macro to the micro? When we home in on some of the individuals and organisations standing up for nature, more positive stories start to emerge. Conserving nature is not just about wildlife and wild places: it is about people, too.
One of the best things about working in conservation is having the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people. Over the past year at Synchronicity Earth, we have worked with:
- a land rights activist from Cameroon;
- a British painter, sculptor and illustrator;
- a Reader in Social Anthropology at UCL;
- an Ecuadorian parabiologist;
- an author and TV presenter;
- an NGO director dedicated to conserving the world’s rarest crocodile;
- an Emmy award-winning film director;
- a French ocean activist;
- an American supermodel;
- a marine scientist obsessed with the oft-forgotten ocean depths;
- a Hedge Fund manager;
- and many others.
What connects all these people – whatever they do – is their love of nature and their desire to bring positive change for the environment. They are all conservationists, using their knowledge, talent and passion to stand up for nature.
Conserving our planet’s biodiversity – its wildlife and wild places – calls for a diversity of voices and approaches. Whether for their scientific expertise, their ability to tell engaging stories, their voice within various industries or their dedication to protecting nature on the ground, working with such a broad spectrum of people is the lifeblood of our work at Synchronicity Earth. These are the people whose knowledge, experience and imagination inform the three key strands of our approach:
What we do:
- CONSERVE: We know that conservation works, but there is nowhere near enough of it. We focus on identifying gaps where scaling up action and funding could have most impact for species and ecosystems that are overlooked and underfunded.
- ENGAGE: We engage creatively and collaboratively with a range of communities across different sectors – finance, fashion, food, philanthropy. We are also an active member of the conservation community, helping to develop key tools and innovative approaches to promote robust science and good practice within the sector.
- FUND: Philanthropic funding for the environment needs to grow significantly, both in quantity and scope. Our approach is to listen to NGO needs and work with donors to provide more long-term, flexible financial support for conservation where it is most needed.
If we want to move the dial and create effective responses to the environmental challenges we face, we cannot simply look at the effects of biodiversity loss: we also need to look at the causes. Environmental destruction does not take place in a vacuum. While we all depend on a flourishing environment, so we all also contribute to its health or degradation. How we live has consequences that are felt far away, in distant tropical forests or remote coastal communities, often at the other end of complex and opaque supply chains. Conserving Earth’s incredible natural heritage is a job – and a responsibility – for all of us.
There are countless inspirational stories out there: the local biologists; the artists; the activists; the scientists; nature-lovers; academics; financiers and film directors. Being a conservationist is a state of mind, not a profession. Communicating what can be achieved and sharing stories is, we think, a great way to make a case for nature in all its wonderful diversity and encourage more people to join a movement to put nature centre stage in our thinking.
That is why we are proud to be part of ConservationNOW.
Featured people in image (Clockwise from Top Left):
Thai Nguyen – Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, Yulexi Villigua – Tesoro Escondido Reserve, Louis Masai – Artist, Tess Gatan Balbas – Mabuwaya Foundation, Arizona Muse – Model, Samuel Nnah Ndobe – Land Rights activist, Cameroon, Lucy Cooke – Author, TV Presenter and Producer, Professor Alex Rogers – Marine Ecologist.
I am the Head of Communications at Synchronicity Earth, an environmental charity which aims to address overlooked and underfunded conservation challenges in places where biodiversity is threatened.