On electric dragons and building a unified voice of the Pacific

IMG_0487The vaka is the heart and the spirit of the community. Its sails sewed together and painted by hand.   Its mast felled from the forest at the center of the island, its floorboards originated from the same stand. This canoe is guided by nature. Its double-hauls are pushed forward by the wind and its power comes by way of the sun.  The lead navigator looks to the stars for direction, feeling the waves for confirmation on their bearing.  When the winds are silent, the vaka bobs, listlessly.  The crew throws fishing lines off the back reeling in tuna, finishing the first before throwing the line out again to catch the next. Each night, under the light of a billion stars, stories…

Closing Plenary of the World Parks Congress: What is the Focus of Conservation for the Next Decade?

Photo for FES

 

The closing plenary of the IUCN World Parks Congress was full of inspiring speeches and presentations summarizing the work achieved during the Congress. The closing plenary represents a week-long intense conference and many years preparation. Information presented during this final plenary gives insight into what conservation may look like going forward.

A key part of the IUCN World Parks Congress system was stream designation. To facilitate the many discussions occurring between the 6,000+ delegates, the congress was broken into 12 streams and cross-cutting themes. These represent some of the most important tenets of the conservation movement today. These calls to action for the next decade (until the 2024 IUCN World Parks Congress) will shape…

Foresters with Talent

I think there’s always a trepidation when beginning to think about returning to school after spending time working, traveling, or taking time off, as there’s a perception that graduate school becomes a vortex of the “all-work and no-play” mindset. While this, to some extent, is a totally true of the F&ES Program, I’ve found that this school supports and encourages social events just as much as it emphasizes academic and professional networking.

Most students here are creative. It makes sense; as environmental professionals and scientists, we’re asked to find new and innovative approaches to help conserve, protect, manage, and use the environment in ways that promote diversity, social justice, and economic prosperity. In this way, our student body is highly diverse in that it brings together thinkers from different…

Nature Needs Half

A bold statement is reverberating across the International Union for Conserving Nature’s World Parks Congress: Nature needs half. Conservation must think big. It must plan at the scale nature requires. True conservation of nature necessitates that large spaces be protected. As many wilderness managers, research scientists and policy makers have been reiterating throughout the World Parks Congress, this means half of the world’s land and marine ecosystems must be conserved.

The arguments supporting the Nature Needs Half movement range from strict ecological rationales, to climate change mitigation strategies and to emotional pleas for better protection of the earth.

Migratory species threatened by climate change especially need protected spaces where habitat remains. Only spaces geographically large enough and ecologically rich enough can provide the quality and quantity to keep…

Is technology the solution?

The World Parks Congress (WCP) in Sydney has come to an end with a closing ceremony that focused on several main themes: integrating indigenous communities into the decision making processes; recognizing park rangers for their work at the front line of conservation; involving the youth of the world to lead the future of parks, people and the planet; and learning the art of story telling to inspire larger audiences to support conservation. These messages are primary aspects of the Promise of Sydney, which is “the blueprint for a decade of change coming from the deliberations of this World Parks Congress.” It is now up to the delegates and the rest of the conservation community to go back to their countries and “save the world.”

But saving the…

Did the World Parks Congress reach conservation goals?

The World Parks Congress (WPC) divided the categories of Parks and Protected Areas into 8 different ‘Streams’. Out of these, the most relevant to me was Stream 1: Reaching Conservation Goals. The aim of this stream was to demonstrate that a well-planned and effectively managed protected area system is essential to conservation.

On the final day, the session summarized all that had taken place over the week including key solutions that came out of the 53 sessions held. The concerns and threats that gained attention throughout the Congress and recommendations for addressing them were then contributed to a document titled “The Promise of Sydney”. This will be presented as a final report to governments, NGOs, businesses, extractive industries, and representatives from other sectors…

Think Global, Act Local - Sydney's Parks

Greetings from outside of Sydney Olympic Park!

The event organizers, in their great wisdom, realized that even the most determined of us congress-goers  can’t spend eight straight days in windowless rooms without going stir-crazy. Therefore, on Sunday we had the opportunity to take a field trip and see how local parks are addressing the global themes of the congress, from ‘reaching conservation goals’ to ‘inspiring a new generation.’  Options ranged from whale-watching to cruising up the Hawkesbury River to visiting the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. While presenters and panelists at the congress had already discussed and debated many methods and strategies for conservation, here was our opportunity to see them being implemented on the ground. Four of us opted for the trip titled ‘Think Global, Act Local,’…

Guilford's Coastal Resilience Plan

Guilford’s Coastal Resilience Plan

UEDLAB SEaside plans

UEDLAB flood plans

GUILFORD PUBLIC MEETING
COMMUNITY COASTAL RESILIENCE PLAN TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014 @ 7:30pm

Nathanael Green Community Center 32 Church Street, Guilford, CT
Please join us for a review of the Guilford Community Coastal Resilience plan as we seek adoption to the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (PoCD).
The plan seeks to proactively address coastal challenges to ensure a thriving coastal community that protects neighborhoods, ensures public safety, and creates opportunities for citizens and
communities to work together…

Lee White delivers powerful presentation in Saturday’s double session about the need for concerted efforts and strong political support to effectively combat poaching. Photo by Linda Holcombe

Today the Yale F&ES student delegation to the 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia had the opportunity to sit in on a paneled debate among world leaders on “The Nature of Crime”, wildlife crime and enforcement.

On the panel:

Shifting the Way the World Shops

If you are what you eat, then just as true, you are what you buy.

From organic, fair-trade, responsible palm oil, Wildlife Friendly, and most recently deforestation-free, consumers can cast their lot with a variety of eco-friendly labels and define who they are by what they buy. It gives someone in New York City the chance to contribute to forest protection in Indonesia by using their wallets to influence the sustainability of the supply chain that serves them with goods.

The consumer’s role cannot be underestimated; conscious consumers can help to shift the social norms and support responsible supply of agricultural or forest products. To get sustainability into the mainstream, the world needs to shift its shopping habits, minimizing environmental damage, and taking the environmental costs of the…