Author Archives: jlynsaba

A new wave coming?

So now that the world parks congress has ended, we can see how beneficial it is to get representatives from all over the world concerned about areas that are protected and areas that should be protected through communicating and sharing ideas. I can only imagine how inspiring it was for those attending a congress like this for the first time!

However, since I was not able to attend in person, I did my best to follow the various news feeds; facebook, youtube, and some blogs (I’m inept at twitter). Intense navigation of the World Parks Congress website had to be done to try and find discussions and upcoming talks. In the end I felt there was a dearth of knowledge on how new agreements are determined, or how much influence and participation attendees (that are not world leaders or experts) have on outcomes of panels. In addition of the difficulties of figuring out what was going on through the social media, I noticed not many people were following the social outlets. With just under 13,000 facebook “likes” and 2,600 youtube hits to their WPC promotional video (that had been out for a YEAR!) I can’t help wonder how it came about that there was a lack of expanding and promoting the WPC to be inclusive to a larger audience. With world renowned speakers such as Sally Jewel, the Secretary to the Interior, and Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and huge marine conservation advocate, it seems only to appeal and gain attention to those who know and are interested in their fields. I couldn’t help but think what better way to promote such an event that only occurs once every ten years by getting supporting players such as celebrities involved… without turning it into a “red carpet” event. Some celebrities are very passionate about the same issues as WPC attendees. Their name can assist increasing awareness to the event itself. If achieving more recognition of the congress led to quicker global acceptance, participation and results, is it not worth it? “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”…has been quoted primarily for the job market, but could it not be applied to getting associations made about the worlds issues too? I’m sure there are many individuals out there who identify much quicker to a actor/actress than a world leader, scientific expert or top business person.

In a world of immediate correspondence and communication abilities, I was incredibly surprised to discover only through my graduate class that the World Parks Congress was occurring. How is it that an entire country like the US, knows when the third movie of the Hunger Games is coming to theater, but we don’t know about an international meeting on the worlds’ protected areas for the betterment of people and the environment? Are people as a whole genuinely disinterested in these issues? Do they feel that it is beyond the scope of what they think they are capable of making a difference or are they just in denial? As a conservationist, I hope it is the second, and expect to see adjustments to get those currently disengaged to an engaged level. This will lead to a new wave of creative and positive conservation actions in the upcoming years!

Imagery and making it stick.

I cringed when I heard I was going to have to blog about the World Parks Congress (WPC) and their use of multi-medias. I’m not very adverse with anything technological and social media is no exception. I’m thoroughly convinced my phone hates me, my computer thinks I’m stupid and my GPS messes with me by making me travel 7 miles in the opposite direction before re-routing me. So how am I to follow the various ways on how the WPC disseminates there information to inspire and educate to the rest of us who can’t be in Australia?

Well, after navigating through their website and looking over their facebook page, I noticed a trend in the things that were captivating my attention. It was through their imagery. Photos of nature, various types of species, and people immersed in the environment that seemed untouched by human influences. It got me thinking, even though I love the stories of conservation, hearing about experiences of innovative conservation engagement and practices and how the interactions of scientists, government leaders, and community members and groups of all ages do come together to protect the worlds special areas, it was the images about what we all love that I looked at and studied first. Imagery can be so powerful. They used it during the opening ceremonies and it was a common theme in the the promotional youtube videos. It all started with an image, followed by another image with heartfelt music. These images allowed anybody watching to make a personal connection, whether it is from the colors themselves, the animals pictured or the places they were taken. Every picture made me either remember an experience of my own or made me feel emotion. That connection is what I held onto; it made me want to see and learn more. I suppose that is how it is for others out there too? Noticing that the WPC website is only translatable in three languages (English, Spanish and French), it’s possible that the images shown will allow other website visitors to understand and make connections of their own through the photographs. The values I associate with one picture may resonate completely different with someone else, but the idea that it could have equally as much impact to make us go out and be better stewards within our environment makes that image invaluable.

WPC even held a photo contest so that any individual from around the world could express how they view nature and share their appreciation and love of it with others. That inclusiveness allows people like me who can’t be directly involved be a part of something special to be heard. It reinforces that this is an open event to anyone who wants to participate in protecting what is in our world, from the smallest little snail to the health of a large urban area.

So how do I stay captured in wanting to delve deeper into the “nitty-gritty” of the World Parks Congress and not get lost in so many conservation topics? It all started with images. Those images became imprinted. They make me observe, wonder and push me beyond where I may not have gone before.