A World Where Economies And Nature Will Prosper Together 经济与自然共繁盛的大同世界

Rich Gilmore
Country Director of The Nature Conservancy
自然保护协会 (The Nature Conservancy) 全国总监

One day, not far into the distant future, sustainability and economy will thrive hand-in-hand if practiced cohesively by all parties. This would indeed help to drive economic growth and create jobs for the people. 

The issue of climate change cannot be ignored and it has become a worldwide concern as activists are engaged in heated contention with economically driven entities. But it is possible for profit-centred businesses and nature conservation to work together to improve all facets towards global progression and harmony. 

Working towards this goal is The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with a mission to help businesses and society understand and practice sustainable development where people and nature can thrive. 

It was founded in the United States in 1951 and has grown to become one of the most successful and impactful environmental organisations in the world. 

It is powered by more than a million members together with more than 400 scientists who are dedicated to their conservation efforts. They are so far making an impact in 72 countries across six continents. 

It’s also because of their innovative and modern approach to conservation that has the whole world talking, and in this part of the globe, TNC is making people pay attention for good reasons. 

Eating endangered species to conserve 

their environment

The Nature Conservancy Australia’s country director, Rich Gilmore gives an example of the TNC’s project to restore the shellfish reefs and ecosystems by indulging in one of its endangered species.

“Our idea could seem controversial but in this case, eating the native oyster works to preserve habitats. It’s a rare delicacy and was over fished almost to extinction in the 19th century but now in the 21st century, we’re encouraging people to eat this endangered species. 

“This creates demand for the oysters, thus creating a demand for their habitat. As a result, gives better opportunities for our shellfish reef restoration work because oysters are excellent and natural water filters – improving water quality through filtering algae, nutrients and suspended matter from the sea water,” explains Rich.

In a nutshell, or rather, seashell, the TNC works with nature to help re-establish oyster and mussel reefs across Australia, working with local businesses, communities and researchers so that nature and people can once again enjoy the many benefits that the shellfish reefs can bring.

Protecting nature while driving profits

Ultimately, Rich said that the conservatory wants to demonstrate that it can protect important places while facilitating sustainable developments. 

Another example was a project the organisation undertook to protect a 16,000 hectare wetland in Australia, an area that’s home to 200 plant species and over 130 bird species. 

“We were funded to create sustainable developments and movements that created jobs for local people through sustainable agriculture in livestock grazing and cattle production.”

“These jobs will be created in partnership with conservation, rather than in competition with conservation. The contributions that enabled this major project are called impact investments which deliver social, environmental and financial return,” explained Rich.  

At the end of the day, we’re very much clouded by our busy urban lives, many of us forget that nature is the fundamental support system that we all depend on. 

“The fact is that economic prosperity of the world relies on nature. Everything that is linked to prosperity like clean air and clean water are provided for free by nature. 

But the real people really care about nature is because of the joy it brings to them and their families – spending time in nature, learning about it and appreciating what it offers. 

“We need to do a better job to remind people that these are the reasons nature really matters. We spend too much time indoors and not enough time outside in nature and we’ve becoming disconnected to it.” 

He understands the rush of corporate life as he comes from a financial background, but after going on a volunteer conservation expedition in Africa, he became a “convert”. 

“I’m relatively new to the conservation area as I was previously in the corporate markets sector. 15 years ago, I was inspired to become an environmentalist by immersing myself in nature where I was part of a project on mangrove conservation in the Swahili Coast,” he recalled.

It was then that Rich decided to leave his corporate life and returned to pursue his studies in a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales, and the rest is history. 

如果各方保持凝聚力,在不远的将来,大自然的可持续性将与全球经济携手并进,这确实有助于推动经济增长,为人们创造就业机会。

地球气候变化问题不容忽视,随着运动人士与经济驱动实体之间的激烈博弈,这个课题已经成为全球关注的焦点。但其实以逐利为中心的企业和自然保护组织可以尝试联手促进各方面的改善与和谐。

自然保护协会 (The Nature Conservancy -TNC) 致力于实现这一目标,其使命是协助企业和社会深入理解和实践环境的可持续发展,使人类和自然能够共同繁盛。

该组织于1951年在美国成立,现已成为世界上成功兼最具影响力的环保组织之一。协会由逾百万名会员和400多名致力于保护工作的科学家注入动力。至今,他们已经在六大洲共72个国家缔造有效成果。

而他们所提倡的创新和现代方法引起全球热议,可说是让人们有充分的理由关注TNC。

食用濒危物种以保护环境
自然保护协会澳大利亚区总监Rich Gilmore也举例说明TNC修复濒临灭绝的贻贝珊瑚礁与平衡生态系统的项目。

“我们的想法可能会引起争议,但在这种情况下,食用本地牡蛎可以保护栖息地。这是一种罕见的美味,在19世纪被过度捕捞几乎灭绝,但现在21世纪,我们鼓励人们吃这种濒危物种。“

“这将从中创造人们对牡蛎的需求,也会促使重新打造它们的栖息地。因此,这为我们的贻贝珊瑚礁修复工作展现更好的机会,因为牡蛎是优质的天然滤水器 – 过滤藻类、营养物质和海水中的悬浮物来改善水质。”他解释。

一句概括:更确切地说是贝类、TNC与大自然密切配合,推动澳大利亚各地重建牡蛎和贻贝珊瑚礁,而当地企业、社区和研究人员也加入其中,让大自然和人们再次享受到贻贝珊瑚礁带来的诸多好处。

逐利同时捍卫自然
Rich Gilmore 认为,协会最终想要证明,促进可持续发展的同时能够捍卫关键大自然。

另外,作为实例,该组织所承担的保护澳大利亚1.6万公顷湿地的一个项目,该地区作为200种植物和130多种鸟类的家园。

“我们获得资金推行可持续的发展和动力,透过放牧和牲畜永续农业为当地民众创造就业机会。这些将与环境保护相铺相成,并非背道而驰的竞争关系。促成这一重大项目的贡献被称为影响投资,为社会、环境和财务带来丰厚回报。”

结束忙碌一天,我们被喧嚣的城市生活所笼罩,很多人忘记了大自然是我们赖以生存的基础系统。事实上,世界经济的繁荣仰赖于自然。

一切与繁荣有关的东西,如干净的空气和水,都是自然界免费供应的。

但是,真正关心自然界的人们是因为大自然赐予他们和家人快乐泉源—花时间感受、了解和感激大自然的奉献。

“我们需要做得更多以提醒人们,为什么大自然是那么的重要。我们在室内呆了太久,却没有太多时间享受大自然熏陶,我们已经与之断开了联系。”

他曾经从事金融财务工作,非常了解企业生活的匆忙,但在参加了非洲的志愿者保护远征队之后,他成为了“皈依者”。

“我之前埋头企业市场业务工作,对于自然保护领域还是相当陌生。15年前,我因本身融入自然而受到启发,继而成为一名环保主义者,在那里我参与了斯瓦希里海岸(Swahili Coast)红树林保护项目。”

那时,Rich决定抽离企业继续深造,重返新南威尔士大学攻读环境管理硕士学位,然后走到了今天。

Text By Karina Foo