The World is a Small Place

President's Message

The World is a Small Place

The older I get, the smaller this big blue marble we call earth seems to become. I suspect if you are inquisitive at all, you’re pondering what experience I might recently have had that could possibly have prompted that sentiment. I recently returned from the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) conference in Cascais, Portugal. Not only was it my first time attending the CIC, it was also my first trip to Europe.

Europe viewed on a globe

I had a fantastic time, made some great connections, and learned a tremendous amount. It certainly wasn’t the three planes, four cities, and 20 hours of travel time just to get there that made the planet seem small. Although there was much that was new to me, it was realizing just how much was the same between conservation challenges faced in much of Europe and North America that evoked that feeling.

Not surprisingly, pressing issues like climate change and biodiversity were prevalent topics of discussion throughout the conference. More surprising to me, were the striking similarities regarding the social issues surrounding hunting, the relevance (or lack thereof) of conservation in society, and the changing wildlife value orientations of European citizens. Many of the issues and manifestations we face here in North America are also prevalent issues in Europe.

If it’s true that misery loves company, those troubled by these changes and challenges in North America would find some good company in Europe. Flying halfway around the world to find peers strained by the exact same issues that plague fish and wildlife conservation in North America made the world feel small to me.

Despite my surprise at hearing the similarity of issues, I was encouraged by what appears to be a growing recognition for the need to develop and employ new outreach strategies and to find more effective and powerful messages including a more visible presence of the “why” that drives most in the field of conservation.

So don’t be surprised when you see or hear about North American conservation ideas being applied in Europe or find effective strategies in use in North America that have European origins. To address the conservation challenges we face throughout the planet most effectively, we should share stories, strategies, and successes because when it comes to conservation, this world is a small place.

Photo Credit
gingerbeardman, Flickr
May 15, 2024