Today was a real treat. Our team – the international development team – had the opportunity to spend a day together, outside of the office, to work on strategic planning for the coming year. This isn’t something that happens too often – we all have heavy workloads, deadlines, meetings and so on.
Beyond the plans we hatched, what I came away with was a strong sense of respect for my team. These people are passionate and creative. Knowledgeable and intelligent. Dedicated. We understand that, although we might be winning some battles, as an organisation and a movement, we’re losing the war.
The unsustainable use of resources goes on, at the expense of the environment. Unequal distribution of those resources means increasing global disparity between rich and poor. And the slow response to climate change is no match for the scale of the problem.
But no one wavers from the task.
One team member remarked how proud she is of the integrity of our colleagues in the team. That’s something I’d like to feel runs through the rest of the organisation and is a fundamental part of our organisational DNA.
What came out in many of our discussions is that there are three interrelated issues that we need to address: poverty, equity, and consumption.
A lot of the biodiversity hotspots we’re aiming to conserve are also places where people live in extreme and chronic poverty. WWF must be committed to an approach that has the best outcomes for people while making sure environmental resources are used sustainably, and there’s always space for untouched wilderness.
Equity, fairness, is fundamental – because as we begin to reach the limits of resources like land, water, food, oil, carbon space (the ability of the atmosphere to absorb carbon emissions), disputes and conflict over access will increase, threatening the most vulnerable.
We need to ensure ‘fair shares‘ of these resources for poor people and poor countries. Without equity, people won’t be able to move out of poverty – and it’s only in a world free of poverty that we’ll reach our goal of people and nature thriving together.
And consumption. We can’t look at poverty and environmental damage in other countries and not see how it’s being driven by the global demand for goods and services. In the interconnected world of the 21st century, we know that our decisions and lifestyles have huge impacts globally.
As our boss said at the end of the day, it’s a phenomenal task, but as a team we put phenomenal effort into achieving it.