Conservation Optimism is a global community dedicated to inspiring and empowering people around the world to make a difference for nature. With the Conservation Optimism Summit around the corner, this article looks forward to the Summit, explores why we need Conservation Optimism and highlights some sources of hope and inspiration provided by our partners.
One of the core principles behind the work we do at Synchronicity Earth is that conservation works, we just need more of it. It is the inspirational people we work with on a daily basis and their success stories which drive us and our supporters to continue, even when the threats facing our natural world can seem insurmountable.
The severity of these threats is hard to ignore. Devastating photos of fires burning across the Amazon spread over international news and social media last week, and a second wave of articles emerging this week with the news that there are more fires burning in central Africa than in Latin America.
It is vital to understand and acknowledge the threats. Shocking images such as those of the Amazon burning might just trigger people to act with the urgency that is required. But these are short-term responses, and in addition to the shocking images, we need to supply stories that will keep people committed to supporting conservation in the long term and show them that conservation works.
This is where Conservation Optimism comes in. Conservation Optimism is a movement to celebrate conservation success stories: the little wins that bring us hope, the tidal changes that keep us going, and the inspirational people who show their dedication to the natural world from all corners of the globe.
At Synchronicity Earth, we hear stories from our partners every week which give us grounds for optimism and tell us that conservation done well has a huge positive impact for people and planet. We are very excited to be bringing two of these partners to the Conservation Optimism Summit in Oxford next week: Frédéric Le Manach from BLOOM Association and Valentin Omasombo Wotoko from Mbou Mon Tour.
Small but Mighty
Frédéric and Valentin will be participating in a panel entitled ‘Small but Mighty’ which will discuss how small organisations can create a big conservation impact. BLOOM Association is a French conservation organisation which, along with others, has been instrumental in achieving significant legislative changes to benefit the ocean, including a ban on deep-sea trawling and electric fishing in the European Union. Mbou Mon Tour is a community-based organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo that conserves important habitat for the Endangered bonobo, man’s closest living relative.
Two members of Synchronicity Earth’s research team, Anna Heath and Sophie Grange-Chamfray, will be joining the panel to discuss how the conservation community can better support small, impactful organisations.
Changemakers of today
We are also excited to see our friends at Action for Conservation (AFC) running an intergenerational panel at the summit discussing the future of nature in the UK. Action for Conservation is a UK charity focused on empowering young people from diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of nature conservationists.
At the core of their work is building youth-leaderships by granting young people opportunities to learn from, collaborate with and challenge older generations, who in turn are given opportunities to share their expertise whilst learning from young people. The panel will represent this challenge, with changemakers at different stages in their careers discussing how they are leading diverse forms of environmental action in an open and honest conversation.
Changing the game
Another source of excitement within the conservation world is the development of new technologies that are creating new connections and facilitating new initiatives that were previously impossible due to lack of budget or equipment.
We have been following the development of the Key Conservation app, which will use mobile technology to connect field conservationists with people around the world who could provide much-needed skills, expertise, funds and volunteering hours both remotely and in person. Megan Cromp, the Director of Key Conservation, will be joining a panel on conservation technology that promises a fascinating discussion on the problems this community is working to solve.
We need conservation optimists
Looking at the line-up of speakers, panellists, workshops and creative sessions that will take place in Oxford at the Conservation Optimism Summit, it is clearer than ever that conservation needs an extensive array of skills to tackle the myriad threats facing our environment. We are delighted to be supporting and partnering with Conservation Optimism, and confident that this event will empower a diversity of voices to share their stories and work together for conservation.