COP10 says Love not Loss

Posted by in blog October 20, 2010

This is the film we worked on with the IUCN and Wildscreen for COP10.

The beginning of the film fits well with the messages you take away from a wander through the delegate forums at COP10

  • Biodiversity is a complex subject, thank heavens we’re all clever scientists
  • We’re not getting through to people how urgent conservation action is
  • We’re on the brink of mass extinction
  • The fate of the world’s biodiversity depends mainly on square brackets
  • Did I mention biodiversity is a complex subject?

The amount of time international delegations take debating the merits of a semi colon versus a full stop in the convention on biological diversity is mind-blowing. Have we gathered the greatest minds in biodiversity together to talk grammar?

It is also insightful. The way we communicate biodiversity policy is clearly of great importance. Whether at the highest levels of political wrangling, or at the grass roots of public action, communication is the glue that sticks policy and action together.

The second half of the film was the thrust of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication’s side event I have just spoken at. The messages from the panel were a challenge to the discourse at this conference, but also to biodiversity communicators the world over:

  • Go beyond the usual suspects – biodiversity is a message for everyone, not just the scientific community
  • Love not loss – it’s time to replace the extinction message with the awe and wonder we all feel for nature
  • Yes we can – people around the world are already doing amazing things, let’s hear about them
  • A positive vision – what does success look like? Work it out and tell the world.

The new message was applauded by John Francis, VP Research, Conservation, & Exploration at the National Geographic Society, whose new documentary Great Migrations is all about the Love message. An Ethopian delegate confirmed that Love not Loss is not an approach confined to the urban West, and UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttal called for consistency of message across all communications platforms.

Clearly there is the potential to shake up the biodiversity message, inject it with some inspiration, and move out of the shadow of complex scientific subject, into the light of the world’s most inspiring stories.

Starting now.


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