We work for a wilder world. It’s not always easy – is often a real struggle – but we persist with, succeed in, and continue to learn from, many and different projects that we develop with our partners. Our vision – sharpened through 40 years of practical experience – is broad and our projects diverse because we accept a simple truth: It’s people like you who will determine if the world is wilder, and that means demonstrating that a wild world is of value to all of us, collectively and individually. The need for a wilder world will fail if it is abstract…wilderness must be personalized in some manner or form. And that is what WILD does. We activate culture through proven projects and practices that reach new people, groups, locations, and demographics. Our credo is to innovate, facilitate, communicate, and celebrate as we protect and connect wilderness, wildlife and people.
In 2015, we achieved:
- Protection from poaching for elephants for just $1 a day per elephant, and protection from habitat degradation for just $5 a day per elephant. The desert elephants of Mali, the highly endangered and very unique elephants of west Africa, inhabit a region the size of Switzerland in the desert south of Timubuktu. Our model works directly to empower the local communities who want to save these elephants, and do so in the face of jihadist invasions, bandits, and daily instability. When our donors support patrols, poaching effectively stops. We need continued support to keep the patrols operating.
- Over 20 WILD Cities Champions inviting wilderness back into urban areas in nearly a dozen countries. Exposure to nature encourages its conservation. WILD Cities is a cutting-edge movement among urban groups around the world to support actions and policies that celebrate and cultivate nature in urban areas, for human and planetary well-being.
- Protecting Marine Wilderness…The first voluntary ‘codes of conduct’ for fishermen, surfers, paddlers, local communities and others who need to know and practice the behavior that respects marine wilderness values. “Marine Wilderness 10+10” works with many partners and stakeholders in government, local communities, and user groups to protect marine wildlife and habitat, and advance overall marine life protection by helping to transform users into stewards.
- A platform for more than 6,000 young conservation leaders in 14 countries to support, share, and learn from each other as they implement projects that create a wilder world. Expect new developments in 2016 as we create Alliances, local leadership hubs that publicize and help fund the conservation projects of their peers.
- Anti-poaching initiatives, such as Forever Wild Rhino, to deal head-on with the ivory and rhino horn trade fueled by criminal and terrorist syndicates, which is the tip of the wildlife trafficking crisis that assails our wildlife and threatens the political and economic sustainability of communities and nations.
- The strengthening global policy. Without an enabling framework at the national and international levels, scientists and activists confront unnecessary difficulty as they labor to protect wilderness. Our global policy work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – an international organization that works to influence the actions of governments and business and has independent observer status at the United Nations – creates more opportunity for wilderness advocates everywhere! Our policy work is internationally-recognized for innovative ways to protect primary forests, (natural) World Heritage Areas that are under threat, and wilderness areas that are under attack from an increasingly sophisticated machine of un-regulated or illegal extractive industries. Check back in 2016 as we coordinate and edit the first international wilderness management guidelines for the IUCN.
HOW we work is as important as WHAT we do…absolutely. Our commitment is clear – it’s all about “building-out” a movement through collaboration and trust, rather than “building up” an institution by just focusing on our needs and our brand. Power and effectiveness is multiplied through synergy, helping each other, and generating strength through shared mission and collaborative practice. “Team” is not a concept to us, it is our practice.
And that is why we need you. Join the team – your help is what makes the difference for wilderness, wildlife, and…a wilder world for all. Thank you!!
Vance G. Martin