Humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis. To solve environmental problems, we bring people from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to the same table. Conservation efforts are beneficial for all communities and facilitate constructive dialog across divides in conflict zones. This pleads for the integration of nature conservation into peacebuilding interventions.
Food for Thought
This paper reviews the literature on marine conservation through the lens of inclusive development. Inclusive development requires ecological preservation, the promotion of human wellbeing, and empowerment of the weakest. However, the general literature on marine conservation and findings from Chile show that achieving inclusive development is challenging. This work aims to provide some key preliminary insights into the possible adoption of an inclusive development perspective in marine conservation policies and practices. Using the relational dimension of inclusive development as a specific lens, the paper focuses on the Chilean case, showing how institutional entrepreneurs that are embedded in social networks and the implementation of appropriate institutions for marine conservation can help to promote more inclusive development globally.
Top-down conservation projects, (Eco-)tourism, large-scale aquaculture and the expansion of industrial infrastructure are transforming Myanmar. Myanmar's coastal and inland aquatic resources are vast, but these evolving processes and dynamics raise important questions about who benefits from using these resources, who gets to access them and where control lies.
Failure to stem trends of ecological disruption and associated loss of ecosystem services worldwide is partly due to the inadequate integration of the human dimension into environmental decision-making. Decision-makers need knowledge of the human dimension of resource systems and of the social consequences of decision-making if environmental management is to be effective and adaptive. Social scientists have a central role to play, but little guidance exists to help them influence decision-making processes. We distil 348 years of cumulative experience shared by 31 environmental experts across three continents into advice for social scientists seeking to increase their influence in the environmental policy arena. Results focus on the importance of process, engagement, empathy and acumen and reveal the importance of understanding and actively participating in policy processes through co-producing knowledge and building trust. The insights gained during this research might empower a science-driven cultural change in science-policy relations for the routine integration of the human dimension in environmental decision making; ultimately for an improved outlook for earth’s ecosystems and the billions of people that depend on them.
Science alone cannot protect the oceans and their biological diversity. Whereas, scientists can identify problems and empirical steps toward their resolution, support for research, problem solving, and implementation of solutions must come from societal sources. Among the most promising are religious communities whose members are motivated by their faith to collaborate with marine scientists in achieving shared goals. Many reasons prevail for engaging faith communities in mitigating assaults on the oceans and protecting them from threats to their functioning. Participants in the open forum convened by the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology during the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress shared their insights on (1) why and how marine researchers and conservation practitioners can best involve faith communities, (2) actions and attitudes that deter constructive engagement with faith communities, and (3) ways forward that the SCB should consider facilitating. Among ways forward identified are the Best Practices Project initiated recently by the RCBWG, adding cultural values and ethics as disciplines SCB members should probe when addressing conservation problems, regularly including cultural values and ethics in panels with other disciplines at international and regional SCB congresses, and appointing an associate editor of SCB publications who will assure the inclusion of articles in which religious and spiritual worldviews, values, and ethics are integrated with the conservation sciences.
The advent of social media and microblogging platforms has radically changed the way we consume information and form opinions. In this paper, we explore the anatomy of the information space on Facebook by characterizing on a global scale the news consumption patterns of 376 million users over a time span of 6 y (January 2010 to December 2015). We find that users tend to focus on a limited set of pages, producing a sharp community structure among news outlets. We also find that the preferences of users and news providers differ. By tracking how Facebook pages “like” each other and examining their geolocation, we find that news providers are more geographically confined than users. We devise a simple model of selective exposure that reproduces the observed connectivity patterns.
In this era of fiscal constraint following the global financial crisis, marine protected areas (MPAs) occupy a remarkable position in the economic landscape. Few government authorities seem concerned about the prevalence of white elephants – illusionary MPAs that carry a financial cost. Whereas no government minister would consider developing a health system based solely on number of hospital beds (irrespective of whether all hospitals are concentrated within a single city, or occupants of beds have access to medical staff, or patients are living or dying), MPAs are largely assessed on a single numerical target (total area). Inconsistent self-identification adds an extra level of opaqueness. The net consequence is an unaccountable and under-performing system, an outcome that is both tragic and economically wasteful.
Based on the input from the regional roundtables, this Ocean Action Agenda includes specific actions that the Trump Administration and the Congress should take to effectively manage America’s ocean and coastal resources. These recommended actions will help ensure a vibrant and healthy future for our country, an ocean and Great Lakes nation. The online report, available at oceanactionagenda.org, also features more than thirty stories from across the United States that highlight the importance of the oceans and Great Lakes to the lives of all Americans and underscore the dramatic impacts change is having on our oceans and coasts.
The media can reflect social opinion and influence debate and policy. Wild vertebrate welfare issues are regularly reported in the media, but there has been no study of the type and frequency of their coverage. We compiled a list of potential wild vertebrate welfare issues in the United Kingdom, recording how often each issue was mentioned in the media during 2014. Lethal wildlife management issues were most frequently reported, whereas issues that received little coverage included marine debris, commercial fishing, and pollution. Overall, the media tended more frequently to report welfare issues that involved intent to harm an animal, were illegal, or occurred in the terrestrial environment. Insofar as media reporting may lead to improvements in the welfare of wild animals, greater effort may be required to provoke media interest in welfare issues that do not involve intent to harm, are legal, or occur in marine environments.
Effective stakeholder engagement is an essential, but commonly overlooked, component of the ecosystem approach. In this article, we draw lessons from two European Union LIFE+ (LIFE is the European Union's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU.) funded projects led by WWF-UK: PISCES (Partnerships Involving Stakeholders in the Celtic sea EcoSystem) and the Celtic Seas Partnership to present an approach for effective stakeholder engagement. These projects developed steps to operationalise the ecosystem approach within the context of a key piece of European legislation: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC).
We identified an approach for involving stakeholders in delivery of the ecosystem approach, which can be applied to other areas and contexts. The approach involves four steps:
Identify a relevant policy framework and the role of stakeholders in its implementation and identify or agree environmental, social and economic objectives for the area.
Create an open, neutral, cross-sectoral forum and design an engagement process that creates a “safe” and inclusive space, and is facilitated independently.
Demystify terminology and develop a shared vision or principles through an engagement process
Collaboratively develop management actions that are needed to achieve objectives and implement them.