Conservation, at its core, has always been the ultimate expression of optimism. When we replant a bottomland hardwood forest or release a captive-bred Mexican wolf into the wild, it’s understood that we may not be around to walk that mature forest. Or encounter recovered wolves roaming the landscape.
But we take these kinds of actions anyway, because we’re optimistic about the future.
I believe strongly that we can, and must retain that optimism as a conservation community, despite the staggeringly complex challenges we face across the globe.
It’s no secret what we’re up against. Increasing drought and other ecosystem disruptions caused by climate change. Widespread habitat loss and destruction caused by development and the spread of invasive species. Spreading wildlife disease facilitated by global trade. Growing water scarcity driven by expanding cities and agriculture. A global epidemic of poaching and wildlife trafficking that is devastating some of the world's most iconic species, imperiling fragile ecosystems and undermining regional security and stability.
These are challenges created by humans. And they will only grow in scale and complexity as human population and affluence grow.