This vision of an inclusive, people-centered form of conservation requires us to be clear-minded about what the world really needs, and to move forward on all fronts.
The environmental movement exploded in the 1960s with a bang of sweeping regulations on water, air, species, and pollution. But over the past three decades, that movement has increasingly focused on markets, corporate initiatives, technological innovation, and philanthropy—essentially the whole world of “non-state actors”—to drive cultural and market-based change.
But it is becoming abundantly clear that community- and market-based solutions can thrive and endure only in the context of well-informed government regulations and programs—and that those programs must respect the rights and territories of people and incentivize market-based solutions to reach the scale we need.
Increasingly we are seeing civil society, funders, and corporations stand up and call on governments to enact and enforce regulations that create clear, consistent rules of the road. Those rules must insist on sustainability—whether they’re regulations banning the destruction of nature, establishing a price on carbon, guaranteeing the right of communities to clean water, or shutting down the illegal trade in wildlife that continues to give rise to global pandemics like COVID-19.
I predict that, more and more, we will build integrated strategies that combine our corporate and community partnerships with more pointed government engagement—to scale up our work, to establish solutions, and to protect and support initiatives so they can endure over the very long term.