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…

Learning, celebrating, and asking at the World Parks Congress

 

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We are all students here at the World Parks Congress.

We are all here with a joint mission and shared worldview – that we need nature, and nature needs us. And, ultimately, we are here to learn from each others’ experiences with the hope that we can make the world a better place. The community of practitioners, scientists, and world leaders at the World Parks Congress bring diverse skills, experiences, and knowledge to the table.  Through collaboration and engagement, we hope to find solutions to shared problems and conservation outcomes that benefit both nature and people.

We know what the challenges are. We know how to solve the problems we face. But something stands in our way.  In our…

Our People.  Our Ocean.  Our Climate.  A Call to Action.

“First I would like to first recognize the traditional owners of this land—the Eora people—and their ancestral leaders past and present.” So begins almost every talk at the World Park’s Congress—a nod to the way things once were. I too nod to the traditional owners of this land. And to the traditional voyagers of the sea.

On Wednesday morning, four beautiful Vaka’s—traditional Polynesian canoes—sailed into Darling Harbor in Sydney, Australia to kick off the World Parks Congress. They have been sailing for months now, navigating by the stars as they traverse the globe, carrying a message, a call to action—

—our climate is changing, seas are rising, oceans are warming and acidifying, the world is netting too many fish, storms are intensifying and eroding coasts as they crash…

Musings from Week One of the World Parks Congress

1. Australia’s declared War on Feral Cats

A war was declared this week on Australia’s booming feral cat population.  It is believed that there are more than 15 million feral cats in the country killing an estimated 75 million native animals each night across the country.  Australia’s new declaration shows the governments commitment towards keeping nature and wildlife safe from the proclaimed invaders. Mr. Gregory Andrews, Australian Threatened Species Commissioner, spoke with conviction at Friday morning’s opening plenary on Parks about his government’s new financial commitments to challenge this problem.  He hopes this new commitment will restore native bird populations across the country.  It was nice to hear tangible commitments and achievable actions from a government agency.  I believe it’s the small, doable actions that have a far greater…

Why All the Waste?

Welcome to day three of the 2014 World Parks Congress, a paperless event. Online schedules and phone apps have replaced paper schedules and delegates can rest easy knowing that their discarded paper wont contribute to the 30% – 40% of municipal waste that is paper.

Thirsty you say? Well, hope you remembered your water bottle. Refill stations dot Olympic park, but you wont find a water bottle for sale. Which considering it takes over 1,000 years for a plastic water bottle to degrade is a great thing for landfills and planets alike.

Didn’t finish your lunch or just enjoyed a delicious banana? Throw your rubbish in a bin conveniently labeled compost and replenish the soil with your waste.

Have some garbage that is neither compostable nor recyclable?…

World Parks Congress: Day Two

“I wanted to on the one hand give you a sense of confidence and … to end with an outlook that hopefully gives you a sense of opportunity and the enormous expectation that the world holds when it comes to you as a community.” – Achim Steiner

Day two of the World Parks Congress and the pressure is on. Today’s opening plenary shifted in tone from the welcome addresses of last night. While celebratory, the speeches also served as a call to action, touching on current environmental issues and challenges.

Australian Conservationist Professor Robert Dodson opened the plenary with a call to remember the interconnectedness of humanity and nature and that that connection should drive our problem solving. He also acknowledged that achieving harmony with nature will require a…

Yale President Peter Salovey, left, and F&ES Dean Peter Crane, far right, present The Aldo Leopold Prize to Teresa Heinz on Nov. 10.

On Monday evening, as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies presented philanthropist Teresa Heinz with its highest honor, The Aldo Leopold Award, School leaders ticked off some of Heinz’s many commitments to the environmental field over the years: her work as Chair of the Heinz Endowments, which supports social and environmental causes; her founding of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning; the annual conferences she sponsors on women’s health and the environment; and her service as U.S. delegate during the Rio Earth Summit.

But beyond the projects, conferences, and board work, there are also the stories of individuals who have been personally affected by her generosity. “She has fostered collaborations among scientists, trained future groundbreaking leaders, and provided much needed encouragement to those engaged in…

Photo from La Casa Cultural: The Latino Cultural Center at Yale.

The Latino Cultural Center at Yale works to unify Latinos/as across campus and in the greater New Haven community. The current cultural center has existed since 1977, when La Casa Cultural unified the Puerto Rican and Chicano groups on campus, as well as opened its doors to all Yalie Latinos/as. The center provides a large library of books and resource materials on Latin American subjects, lounges for students to work and gather in, and ESL programs for non-native-English speakers on- and off-campus.

La Casa Cultural invites undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to participate in its events and get involved in the greater community. It serves as a link for Latinos/as across graduate schools, bringing together students from Yale’s Law, Medical, Divinity, and Forestry Schools. The Latino Cultural Center…