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
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.
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。
“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。
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。
Text By Karina Foo