THE CONGRESS

WHY WILDERNESS?

Have you ever wondered how to become a more effective advocate for the planet, drastically limit the rise of global temperatures, support innovative ideas that empower rural and urban communities to live in harmony with the natural world, save critically endangered species, end the Sixth Mass Extinction, and keep Earth wild now and in the future?

Around the world people are waking up to the exciting fact that protecting wilderness is the single most effective way to end the extinction crisis and address the climate crisis! That’s because wild places do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to:

  • Carbon sequestration (nature-based climate solutions).
  • The preservation of essential life support systems needed by every community and individual on Earth (nature-based community solutions).
  • Stable and productive cities and countries (nature-based political solutions).
  • The defense of the natural habitat every animal needs to fulfill its evolutionary destiny.

If you aspire to defend a clean and healthy Earth, protecting wilderness is a must. And the best place for you to build the power necessary to support bigger, bolder, and better wilderness conservation around the world is at the World Wilderness Congress – the longest-running, international, public conservation project and forum for protecting wild nature and its benefits for society.

Though the challenges to life on Earth are great, there are many reasons to hope, not the least of which is the growing recognition that wilderness is not a luxury, but the foundation of life on Earth.  Protecting and expanding wilderness is now regarded as a key solution for preventing the Sixth Extinction and addressing the climate crisis.

This understanding that both climate and extinction are interdependent and interacting – and that combined they have developed into a planetary-scale threat to civilization – comes with the responsibility to act. While populations are already mobilizing to address the impact of runaway climate change, the same has not been true of runaway extinction.

Until now.

Wilderness is rapidly becoming an issue of central importance for all, from engaged environmentalists to future-oriented business leaders and self-aware communities, including the climate crisis activists.

In March 2020, when the 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11) convenes in India, you will have the historic opportunity to be part of building a new movement to protect nature and humanity from the planetary threat to life due to these two major intersecting crises — of extinction and climate.  And we recognize that one of the most important actions we can take is to directly address leaders from all sectors of society and insist that protecting more wilderness is a keystone solution. Even more, we must become the new leadership. We need to protect more—at least half of our lands and seas – by engaging innovation, community empowerment, and completely new models of development and agriculture

 

WILD 11 will be the first of a series of international environmental processes and conferences in 2020 and is positioned to be the starting point of a new and holistic approach to the planetary challenge to survival.

WILD 11 will build on this new sense of relevance and will be a key milestone in demonstrating how “nature-based solutions” can save us from what is now an existential crisis to life on Earth.

 

A note on Wilderness & Wildness:

The benefits of wilderness are irreplaceable and make possible healthy and prosperous societies. Some countries have large wilderness areas, others don’t. Nevertheless, all nations and people, regardless of location, depend on wilderness, and its formative processes for clean water, stable climates, healthy cities, fertile soils, happy communities, and more. These are the subjects on the World Wilderness Congress programme, and by finding solutions to a wide range of issues we can help create a wilder world.

WHY 2020?

2020 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change history and take a global step forward towards a new, truly sustainable relationship with nature, one based on respect for wilderness, the future, and ourselves. In October 2020, the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity will convene in China to set new targets for the amount of lands and seas that need protection (currently, 17% terrestrial and 10% marine, however, as science indicates, we will need 50% of lands and seas). Much of life on Earth is now dependent leaders who choose to think big, can accept the truth, and can act in the interest of humanity and nature instead of narrow, special interest and profit-oriented groups. WILD11 is a powerful stepping stone to the China meeting and an opportunity for leaders to embrace decisions that are relevant and necessary while sweeping away the obsolete thinking of the past.

WILD11 (March 19-26, 2020, sign up for registration updates here) will build on this new sense of relevance and aims to be a key milestone in outlining how “nature-based solutions” can save us from the planetary threat to life humanity is facing. 

WILD 11 will be the first of a series of international environmental conferences in 2020 and we want it to be the starting point of a new and holistic approach to the planetary challenge to life that humanity is facing.

WILD 11’s goal is two-fold: 1) to influence the global decision-making process and create new leadership, so we seize this critical moment in history, and 2) to take the ambitious and necessary step of agreeing to protect and interconnect at least 50% of Earth’s land and seas. The 11th World Wilderness Congress is an essential milestone on the way to the historic 2020 decision in China.

In conjunction with a regional program that advances practical solutions for wildland restoration that benefits human communities, WILD11’s global program will amplify urgent calls to protect half the planet with the following activities:

  • Launching a BRICS-based (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) leadership committee and in-country social movements to influence policy agendas in some of the world’s largest and most biodiverse countries.
  • A Global Call for Action and outreach initiative, outlining the interdependency of biodiversity and climate and the role nature-based solutions can play to prevent a runaway crisis.
  • “The Survival Challenge”: A formal declaration signed by leaders from all sectors of society and all corners of the planet, calling for the United Nations to end the Sixth Extinction by protecting half of Earth, outlining what is expected from the world’s leaders.
  • Advancing practical on-the-ground solutions that help communities restore and protect their wildlands. 

WHY INDIA?

Indian conservationists have overcome enormous hurdles to pioneer new conservation solutions that simultaneously address the needs of local peoples.  Issues and challenges still abound in what will soon be the world’s most populated country, but India has succeeded in many ways, including a tiger conservation that has been so successful that now India’s 2,000 tigers need more habitat.  

Indian conservationists are also restoring wildlands and reintroducing animal and plant species, working hand-in-hand with local communities to rejuvenate human livelihoods, and establishing new agricultural across millions of hectares of farmland that rejuvenate soil, eliminate poisons, and scale-up community-based food production.

We can’t think of a better country to host WILD11 and take a leading role in the movement to protect at least half the planet. The Congress will convene in Jaipur, the capital of the colorful and historically-significant desert state of Rajasthan. Here, nomads still wander the Thar desert while the Bishnoi people continue a thousands’ year old tradition of nature worship, sacrificing even their lives to protect sacred trees. To the south of Jaipur, tigers prowl from one shadow to the next beneath the canopy of Ranthambore National Park (India’s most successful tiger reserve); to the north, the ruins of the Indus River civilization await your discovery at the Kalibangan archeological site.

WILD11’s regional program will elevate important issues that are often overlooked in wilderness conservation. From the protection of grasslands and deserts to the preservation of the quickly dwindling Great Indian Bustard (less than 150 remain!), WILD11 will advance knowledge and coordination for a more comprehensive approach to the conservation of wildlands.

WHY LOVE?

When it comes to spurring pulse-quickening, heart-pounding, clock-racing, world-challenging action, we believe few emotions are as effective as love. And that’s what our planet needs most right now. The kind of love that shatters what we think is possible and changes everything about the way we see the world, from our wants to our capacities.

That is why WILD11 is dedicated to life, livelihoods, and love.

Scientific data is important, and we need it more than ever. And yet, it alone does not mobilize action across cultures, across oceans, and across worldviews.

If we are going to transform our relationship with wild nature and get out of our current mess, it’s going to be because of the power of love – love for each other, love for our children, and love for the wondrous and utterly unique web of life that is Earth’s miraculous heritage.

We urge you to use the 11th World Wilderness Congress as an opportunity to consider what you are really passionate about, what it is you really love. And then ask yourself, “Is that love worth saving nature for?”