My post begins in the
African wilderness some 30 years ago. The World Wilderness Congress
(WWC) is now the world's longest-running, public conservation project
and environmental forum started in Africa. It all started when Ian Player and his
Zulu mentor Magqubu Ntombela decided that they wanted to do something
more than guide groups of 8 people at a time for 5 days in the
African wilderness. One day in 1974, Magqubu suggested that they
should call an “INDABAKULU, a great gathering, for all people to
come together for wilderness”. And so, the WILD foundation began.
In three years, the first World Wilderness Congress convened in South Africa. Each congress hereafter has broken new ground and has had positive conservation results globally. The congress has now convened 9 times on 5 continents. It integrates art, science, management, government, academia, native leaders, youth, corporate leaders and advocates into a multi-year conservation program, with unique results at each convening.
Its 10th conference, WILD10, is taking place in Salamanca, Spain between the 4th and 10th of October. In order to break newer ground the WILD foundation has partnered with the Murie Center and Simon Jackson, founder of the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, to form CoalitionWILD.
CoalitionWILD seeks to catalyse a social movement of people under 30 to create a wilder world. The initiative hopes to inspire and empower young people by providing a social media platform for innovative ideas, on-the-ground projects, activities and events, while focusing attention on the power of younger generations to initiate change. Also, top ideas will have a chance to win an invitation to present their project to the world at the WILD10 conference in Salamanca, Spain.
During a talk with Simon Jackson, I began to realize the scope and potential of CoalitionWILD. The initiative is simple, it asks how you (if you're under 30) would like to create a wilder world. As Simon explains, 'wilder world' is an open ended term. It can mean a lot, to many different people and on many different scales.” Early submissions have included projects to help endangered dolphins in Australia to local clean-up efforts in the USA's Midwest.
Through CoalitionWILD, there is potential for the most creative, inventive, and wacky projects to come to fruition. When you submit an idea, it is joining a network of peers that are engaged with ideas of their own. This melting pot can become a definitive platform, a way for peers to mentor and learn from each other. Most importantly, it shows the world that there is a generation who believes the environment is something that is worth saving.
My talk with Simon finished on a revelatory note that really honed in what CoalitionWILD has the potential of becoming. Change, the real definitive kind that has support from both supporters and the opposition, doesn't happen unless people are talking about ideas.
As a society, we seem to have lost our way a little with this recently and have been deduced to screaming matches between two polarized sides of an issue. Today, the middle majority often does not have a voice. Simon believes that it is through real relationships and trust that change can happen. Anyone who has kids, wants to have kids, drinks water, or breathes is an environmentalist. What we have lost is the fundamental of talking about ideas. Out of a discussion about ideas, a proper debate can happen, then a solution. This is the potential for CoalitionWILD, a place for ideas and an agent for change. So, what does 'wild' mean to you?