As someone who fairly recently entered the environmental world, I would not call myself an expert on the “who’s who of conservation.” So after scrolling through the World Parks Congress (WPC) speakers, I was surprised to see some familiar faces. This made me think: (1) the world of conservation must be pretty small, and (2) I must watch a lot of videos.
First there was Jeff Horowitz, co-producer of a documentary on climate change titled Years of Living Dangerously. Then there was Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who was featured in that film, and also appeared on The Colbert Report. Sylvia Alice Earle, an accomplished marine biologist, is a speaker (she was named Hero of the Planet in 1998 by Time Magazine). I, however, know her from the documentary Mission Blue. Speaker Emmanuel de Merode is the Chief Warden of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I know him from the new documentary Virunga. And finally, I learned about corporations and biodiversity through a TED Talk by Jason Clay, Senior Vice President for Markets and Food at WWF-US, before knowing he would be a WPC speaker.
Now there many, many people who contribute to conservation, so it may not fair to say the world of conservation is small. But I think the prominence of speakers involved in documentaries and other videos at the WPC tells us something. Many of these speakers may consider themselves conservationists, but their role is much larger than that: they are conservation communicators. The WPC’s mantra of “inspiring solutions” is achieved through these innovative speakers who understand the power and importance of communicating conservation issues to the public. It’s these speakers, whether through documentaries or television shows or TED Talks, who inspire and motivate their audience to make a difference. So props to the WPC for providing a forum for these prominent people in the world of conservation communication.
…or maybe it means I just stare at screens too much.
(This entry was posted on behalf of Anna Kellogg)