Biodiversity is a tricky beast to capture: It always seems either too small or too big to communicate. Too small, considering all the little parts that make up our environment — many of which are often invisible to us. Too big as biodiversity describes nothing less than the “variety and variability of all life on earth.”
All the while, the clock is ticking: A new UN report finds that species of all kinds are disappearing at a rate “tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 million years.” Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, this one is driven by just one species: humans. Much of the disappearance has to do with how we grow our food, and how much of it and which food we consume.
In less than two years, world leaders will convene in China for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Conference of Parties to agree on a new framework that will guide global action to protect nature, save species and use resources sustainably. But without broad public support and motivation to change the way we manage resources, any political framework will fall short of its ambitions.
Effectively communicating the urgency of biodiversity protection has never been more critical. Based on Rare’s experience using behavioral insights and social marketing — alongside results of a global competition that surfaced 338 solutions for sustainable agriculture and land-use practices and trainings that have empowered 200 local changemakers around the world to address the social and environmental challenges facing their communities — we have some insight into making the message stick.
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