Rod Abson and Justine Braby discuss biodiverity communication on this IUCN Blog post. Leave your comments!
By Rod Abson and Justine Braby of IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC)
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Often underestimated, communication has the power to change the world. For too long, the environmental message has been a negative one – a warning of impending loss. Yet it has not induced enough change to prevent any of the losses we warned about.
We are learning that positive, aspiring messages are much more powerful and hopeful. Do we recognise how intimately we are connected to nature? Do we love nature? What is it about nature that we love and cherish? Using communication approaches that personalise, humanise and publicise nature, the conservation community can reach out to people in ways that generate support for nature and motivate action.
The first of the 20 ‘Aichi’ targets outlined in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan is that “By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.” Effective communication is the key to making this transition happen.
The CEC hosted a side event at the CBD conference in India in October which showcased effective communication strategies. Participants watched presentations including the video ‘How to Tell a Love Story’ and its predecessor ‘Love. Not Loss’.
Nancy Colleton, CEC Deputy Chair, moderated the session, asking participants to share their experiences of how they have exposed people to re-defining nature in terms of love and connection. The multinational audience told personal stories on many aspects of nature, from caring for cobras to swimming in streams in Nigeria.
Effective communication is required if progress is to be made in the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and CBD Article 13 on Communication, Education and Public Awareness. This need was described by David Ainsworth, Information Officer at the CBD Secretariat and member of the CEC Steering Committee. Most of the time, change occurs only because a critical mass is exposed, through effective communication, to the intrinsic need and desire to change.
Rod Abson told the story of the development of the Love Not Loss Campaign from Nagoya in 2010 to the launch at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September of its newest component, ‘How to Tell a Love Story’. He said that in the future CEC hopes the campaigns will generate interest and support for strategic, positive messaging in the wider conservation community.
To find out more and share in the focus on positive biodiversity communications please see: www.iucn.org/lovenotloss and follow #lovenotloss on Twitter.