At the start of the new year and decade, many friends and colleagues have little optimism about the likelihood that humanity will squarely address the systemic problems we face around the conservation of land and biodiversity. A handful of these interactions prompted me to postulate a radically optimistic vision and sketch the contours of an alternate narrative. The range of global guiding documents and forums for change make the topic ripe (for example, the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on Climate Change will be centerpieces for the upcoming World Conservation Congress, Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration). I moved from verbal riffs to a few sentences on paper for a recent exercise we did with the Resilience Thematic Group, see this post on Conservation Visions for the 2020s.
A Conservation Manifesto
We can and will proactively incite and steer social-ecological system transformations. Even in urban cores, we can and will unearth and rekindle our sacred, direct connections with land and lifeforms. We can and will change the ways that people around the world perceive, think, and act. We can and will establish equity and justice as the necessary foundations of our economy-ecologies. We can and will control the ways that global networks are and are not allowed to link local places together. We can and will foment a rapid, universal shift to gross-zero emissions and remain below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. We can and will reinvent business, government, and society based on resilient, circular, sustainable, and regenerative relationships.