« For Nature, For People, Forever »

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was founded in Switzerland in 1961, and this year marks their 60th anniversary. Within those six decades, they’ve become the world’s largest conservation organisation, raised millions of dollars to support conservation projects, and done a lot of good.

Their goal? « To conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. » To them, this means protecting our…

Food

As our population continues to grow, so does the need for food. But we are already eating more than the earth can handle, and the solution isn’t as simple as building more farms. The WWF realises that we could be engineering our crops to use less water, be denser in calories, and yield more produce. They also understand that we need to minimize waste. The 1.3 billion tons of food that no one eats every year could be feeding the hungry.

Their food related projects include:
  • The AgWater Challenge: Created to encourage food and beverage companies to make transparent commitments that protect our freshwater.
  • The Journey to Sustainable Sugar Begins Here: Sugar cane is one of the most water intensive crops. The WWF works with farmers, processors, industry specialists, etc. to raise expectations for sustainable sugarcane production.

Wildlife

A healthy earth is a biodiverse earth. All species on our planet play important roles in their respective food chains, and help keep nature balanced. But we risk tipping the scales: As humans continue poaching, abusing natural resources and contributing to habitat loss, we are losing our animals. Within the last 40 years, mammal, bird, fish, reptile, and amphibian populations have shrunk by a frightening sixty percent. (WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018)

What has the WWF been doing to change these statistics? They’ve saved species like the black rhino and the Indian antelope from extinction. They’ve made efforts to double the world’s tiger population, and shut down ivory markets to protect elephants. And they’ll continue to help.

Elephant | Species | WWF
Their wildlife projects include:
  • Conserving Snow Leopards, Securing Water Resources, and Benefiting Communities: Within 6 of the 12 countries the Snow Leopard is native to, the WWF will run the Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project. It includes conducting field research and building alliances among participants.
  • Shutting Down Tiger Farms: The WWF wants to fight back against facilities that breed tigers for parts, and to ensure the safety of all captive tigers.
  • Thirty Hills: This valuable Sumatran rainforest is under the WWF’s protection. It is « one of the last places on Earth where elephants, tigers and orangutans coexist in the wild. »

Forests

Forests clean our air, store carbon, and are home to 8/10 non-aquatic species and hundreds of millions of people. The largest forest in the world, the Amazon, is fondly referred to as the « the lungs of the planet ». But because of developing agriculture and the demand for paper, we risk losing many of them.

WWF is helping by creating « multi-million dollar funds to properly manage forests that are designated as protected. The funding is to train park officials about responsible forest management, buy satellite GPS collars to monitor and track endangered wildlife, and more. » They also work with governments to help them understand the value of their forests and conserve them.

sun rising through mist over Thirty Hills forest in Sumatra
Their wildlife projects include:
  • Transforming the global rubber market: To make room for rubber trees, many forests in Asia that house endangered species are chopped down. To prevent this, WWF supports the people that grow rubber sustainably, and the companies who use it.
  • Transforming Peru’s forest sector: Most of the wood in Peru is harvested illegally, but the WWF and the Peruvian government are trying to change the country’s forest sector.
  • Hariyo Ban: Mitigating and adapting to climate change in Nepal: A program that promotes « strategic approaches for biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and adaptation in Nepal. »

Conclusion

In conclusion, WWF clearly lives up to their name. By funding conservation projects all over the world, they’ve saved habitats, animals and essential resources. Without their work over the past 6 decades, the world would be worse-off. To be a part of the good they do, you can make a donation at https://www.worldwildlife.org/.

« Together, we can address the greatest threats to life on this planet. »

WWF

Source

All images and information were found on https://www.worldwildlife.org/

Children of the Sea: Nature Is Not a Force We Can Control

Children of the Sea is a stunningly beautiful film that I watched last month. It follows a 14-year-old named Ruka on her summer vacation. She feels drawn to the aquarium her father works at, and there meets a boy her age named Umi and later his adoptive brother Sora. These two were raised by dugongs (which are closely related to manatees) in the ocean. They swim like fish, their skin dries out in the sun, and due to their unique upbringing, they have a special appreciation for life.

The plot is easy enough to follow at first. Ruka spends most of her summer with the brothers, whom she feels a strong and inexplicable connection to. She understands them better than the researchers observing them, and feels the need to make sure they’re safe.

Then something strange begins to happen to the ocean. After a meteor falls into the sea, countless creatures begin to gather there, waiting for something. Marine biologists call this impending event « The Festival » and assume that the brothers will play some sort of role.

TIFF Next Wave Review: 'Children of the Sea' Has Beautiful Oceanic Visuals  that Distract from its Environmental Message Directed by Ayumu Watanabe
Clements, Sara. Umi and Ruka watch as the meteor falls to earth. Exclaim, 14 Feb. 2020,
https://exclaim.ca/film/article/tiff_next_wave_review_children_of_the_sea_has_beautiful_oceanic_visuals_that_distract_from_its_environmental_message-directed_by_ayumu_watanabe

Once the festival begins, the film becomes impossible to explain. It’s a kaleidoscope of colours and galaxies and a metaphor for many things. Against her wishes, Ruka has to say goodbye to Umi and Sora, who have been chosen by the universe to help expand it. They who lose their physical forms and burst into stars. The end of their lives acts as a beginning for many others.

Children of the Sea is Unspeakably Beautiful and Unnecessarily Dense –  Biggest In Japan
Eisenbeis, Richard. Ruka swimming during the festival. Biggest In Japan, 17 June 2019,
http://biggestinjapan.com/index.php/2019/06/17/children-of-the-sea-is-unspeakably-beautiful-and-unnecessarily-dense/

Even though I was confused by the ending (no doubt you are too), I do think I understood one of its messages: we cannot control the Earth. She has her own plans for the future, whether we are on board or not. Ruka couldn’t stop the festival anymore than we can stop the sun from rising.

We can only allow nature to take its course.

Bloodsuckers

IMAGE
Mosquitoes on the Platanthera orchid. Photo courtesy of Chloé Lahondère from Virginia Tech.

So apparently I am like the least liked bug: The mosquito. These annoying little insects belong to the culicidae family. They feed primarily off of nectar, but females drink blood so that their eggs get enough protein while they’re growing. That’s how they spread more diseases than any other creature. Unlike mosquitoes, I don’t drink blood or make anyone sick, but we do have a couple things in common.

Our weakness

The mosquito tends to come on a little strong. In fact, some swarms are so thick they risk suffocating you. And when they want to feed, they’re relentless. Like the mosquito, sometimes I can be a little overzealous. It’s all or nothing for me, and because of this I burn out a lot. It’s not exactly the healthiest way to approach work, and most of the time I’m very tired because I gave my all for one project.

Our strength

Due to my erratic work schedule, and the mosquito’s bad reputation, people tend to judge us pretty quick. They don’t realize that the she’s an essential pollinator and serves as a major food source for thousands of animals, such as birds, bats, dragonflies, and frogs. The mosquito pleasantly surprises you when you learn she contributes to the survival of other species. I, on the other hand, can produce good work when least expected. It keeps people on their toes. 🙂

WHat I can learn

The mosquito’s role isn’t complex or glamorous, but she can’t afford not doing it. She is needed and relied upon, despite whatever the public thinks of her. I admire that she is self-assured, consistent, and determined to get her work done. These are qualities I hope to one day possess.

Sources

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/mosquitoes/
  • https://blog.nwf.org/2020/09/what-purpose-do-mosquitoes-serve/