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Let’s have the

conversation

about

conservation

So, there are lots of conversations about it. From Ted Talks and the UN Paris Agreement to the Co-op’s Plan Bee campaign, we must tackle global issues on a global scale. And there’s still much to be said – so let’s all champion the big deal that is our precious planet…

Despite the symbolism that green infers ‘new’, the notion to ‘think green’ is far from new. In fact, awareness of conservation issues has been a growing trend for the last century – with a particular surge in the past decade. Whether it’s deforestation, our oceans, or wildlife poaching, many of us have made a stand and leapt onto the environmental bandwagon. And so we should.

Those who’ve read my tweets and retweets on green issues won’t be surprised to learn that this subject is one I feel very strongly about. Campaigning for action and change is relentless as the issues are ever-present and far-reaching; affecting all lifeforms. Using our voices is therefore integral to this fight, the aim of which is not for life as we know it, but for a life far better: sustainable, enriched and continuous.

A while ago, I came across this Huffington Post article which highlights how eco-politics has created a domino effect; hitting the globe like a Mexican wave. It conveys that it’s not just random activists who are initiating change, but also governments and those working with them. Finally some accountability is being acknowledged across the continents. But although this has marked a significant shift, there’s still a monumental mountain to climb.

24/06/08 Bee keeping course at Littlecote House in Berkshire. Teresa Machan and Steve Conway are shown the hives by bee keeper Rosemary Proud (upright head protector) at her property near Lambourn, Berkshire. Picture: John Lawrence 07850 429934

Image courtesy of John Lawrence

That’s not to say we should be overwhelmed and convinced our individual contribution won’t make a difference. Quite the contrary. And achieving conservation goals is not just about going on safaris and single-handedly saving rhinos (although go for it if you can). It’s worth remembering that the sector of environmental conservation is a broad one, which incorporates local initiatives as much as global ones. Initiatives like Plan Bee, for example, in which bee hives and wild flowers are being placed throughout the UK in a bid to rescue our declining bee population. With a £1million fund by the Co-operative, this is a wonderful example of conservation on a local scale.  And there are lots more besides.

So, what rattles your eco-cage? Perhaps you want to get behind the ban on illegal logging, or the campaign of plastic bags in our oceans? Maybe the plight of endangered species such as orangutans, turtles and leopards pulls on your heart strings? Whichever you choose, support the cause with your voice – and actions, if you can. And when considering donating, if you’re unsure whether to plump for WWF or the RSPB, this article might help you decide.

Other inspired plights include last year’s ‘War on Waste’ by TV chef and environmentalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. His exposure of the globe’s biggest coffee shop chains in their use of supposed ‘recyclable’ drinking vessels that don’t do what they say on the tin – or coffee cup – was indeed thought-provoking. And his awe-inspiring campaign Hugh and the Ivory War – whose investigative filming made for extremely powerful viewing.

Hugh's ivory war#1

Doing your bit…

It’s never been easier to grasp an understanding of our environs. There are tons of organisations, spouting facts and figures to educate us on the status quo of our natural environment, and the actions we can take to help, and prevent threats to it. So there’s no excuse; we’ve all the tips and tools to get on board.

People often complain about the media’s negative reports; the ‘scaremongering’ and guilt-tripping. But whether we like hearing it or not, if there’s more to be done (and we know there is) it falls on us to sit up and listen, and do more. Sure, we shouldn’t feel railroaded, but the media are just doing what they do: delivering to the masses and influencing behaviour change (albeit ocassionally exaggerated).

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are some organisations that provide us with a celebratory pat on the back, such as WWF‘s preview of 2016’s commendable achievements in conservation. I’ve long been a member of WWF and contributor to their campaigns, so I felt rather proud reading this report. It didn’t make me feel I should take a load off and rest on my proverbial laurels, but it was certainly an encouraging and positive reminder that our efforts are making a difference – and we all yearn for that recognition. Similar thumbs-up acknowledgement was made in an annual report by the inspirational Conservation International.

Finding Nature's Voice#2

“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent.” Professor Stephen Hawking

So, as the year unfurls, let’s consider what 2017 holds for conservation. On a negative political front for example, it’s a big thumbs-down where the U.S. President’s myopic views on climate change goes. The world’s environmental scientists have evidenced the causal link of growing devastation with man-induced climate change, but Doanld J. Trump – leader of the free world – insists it’s a myth.

Trump in the wind

Will the winds of change sway this man’s distorted perceptions?

He famously tweeted, “It’s really cold outside…Man, we could use a big, fat does of global warming!” His jovial denial has understandably raised many concerns. Turning this man’s big stubborn head will undoubtedly be more challenging than any mammoth obstacle we face for Project Planet. Recently airing his concerns on Trump’s policies, theoretical physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking said, “Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent.” He continues with a somewhat double-edged sword: “It affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for Trump’s second term. God forbid.”

But if the worst comes to the worst, an article in New Republic magazine revealed that we may even be able to tackle climate change without the U.S. – so Trump that, Mr President.

Is conservation second nature?

I don’t claim to be the next Dian Fossey or David Attenborough, who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to their environmental passions; educating and encouraging us to respect and fight for nature, but I will share what I’ve learnt and endeavour to inspire a little hope.

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                                                    reserve

Many people believe that actioning environmental issues is simply too colossal, convinced that their little voice will never be heard; that adding their name to a petition or doing a charity run won’t make a difference. But the entire point is power in numbers, and we all have to start with Number One (or the Man in the Mirror as the King of Pop phrased it). This is where the brilliant world of social media really comes into its own: rallying has never been easier. Ensuring that your words are heard by those who need to listen is achievable.

Try trading the endless hours of streaming cat videos for making a real statement on Facebook and Twitter. I recommend following some of these guys who are inspiring a green generation: @theecoheroes, @Greenpeace, @NatGeo @WWF – to name a few brilliant eco-brains driving the green bus, that’s flying the green flag.

Why not take a leaf-y out of Pantone’s book, and choose green to headline the year ahead (and beyond):

Pantone for blog #3crop

If you love the world you live in – or perhaps more poignantly, if you don’t – it really does start with us to initiate change. I know that I, for one, have lots more to contribute: I’ve so far adopted a tiger; donate to environmental charities; and champion campaigns by signing petitions and spreading the word. It feels good to partake in something I profoundly love and believe in. I’ve yet to work out when I can roll up my [organic fairtrade] sleeves and volunteer. But I will do it – and I’ll keep you posted.

So, get behind it, be at the forefront of it, be all over it. It’s no coincidence that green means go. Together we can help make things better: just believe and go for it. And when the strains of eco-heroism feel a bit much, allow the words of my icon – the late Audrey Hepburn – to speak to you: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible'”.

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