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?

Turns out, protecting wilderness is the single most effective way to save nature! That’s because wild places do most 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.

In March 2020, when the 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11) convenes in India, you will have the historic opportunity to encourage leaders from around the world to protect more wilderness than ever before. Half of Earth’s lands and seas, to be precise. This in addition to engaging innovative ideas and practical new solutions at the roots of community development and biodiversity protection.

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). Life needs them to think big. Never before have our leaders needed the vision and strength to do what is necessary to protect the future of all life. WILD11 is a powerful stepping stone to the China meeting. It will build vision, strength, and support for them to think big….and to protect half the planet’s land and seas

WILD11 (March 19-26, 2020, sign up for registration updates here) aims to influence this process, encouraging world leaders to fully embrace this critical moment in history, and 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 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 Mass Extinction by protecting half of Earth.
  • Advancing practical on-the-ground solutions that help communities restore and protect their wildlands. 

WHY INDIA?

Indian conservationists have overcome enormous hurdles to achieve one of conservation’s greatest success stories: saving the tiger from near extinction. While half of the world’s nearly 4,000 remaining tigers in India, they need more natural habitat to thrive and support Indian ecology. That’s why Indians are pioneering effective new solutions to restore wildlands and reintroduce animal and plant species, working hand-in-hand with local communities to rejuvenate human livelihoods as well.

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?”