KNO8: The problem of the polar bear: Does the symbol of the Arctic prevent us from fixing the Arctic?

Date: Tuesday October 9, 2018

Location: Saivo, Lappia Hall

Time: 15:00-16:30

Building mass awareness on the importance of nature is critical to achieving a sustainable, prosperous, and liveable future on planet Earth. The rapid rate of change taking place in the Arctic due to climate change is transforming the region’s biodiversity, making it a critical focal point for any global conversation. However, communicating the urgent need for action to prevent biodiversity loss in the Arctic to audiences that will never visit the region has met with limited success. This session examines how Arctic biodiversity has been portrayed by various institutions and organizations in the past, and what might be done to communicate more effectively in the future. A central example within the session is the WWF’s current ‘Engaging a Billion for Biodiversity’ campaign. Over the next three years, WWF’s global engagement priority is to inspire mainstream support for environmental action to protect biodiversity. In partnership with the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) the collaboration aims to help achieve the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Target 1. This session details WWF’s plans to engage a global audience using engagement techniques such as the Earth Hour platform and the Scouting Badge programme. The session will also detail ethnographic research findings of key learnings from previous representations, campaigns and pedagogic frameworks highlighting the importance of Arctic biodiversity in relation to climate change. We will tackle head on the challenges and opportunities the polar bear, as poster child for Arctic conservation, represents for communicating the wider challenges of Arctic biodiversity. Building on the unique opportunity of the conference expertise, the session moves into a round-table format where individuals will critically reflect on their own experience of communicating, campaigning and engaging about Arctic biodiversity. Through facilitated discussion we will consider how to more effectively convey the realities of the Arctic to future audiences.

Chairs: Leanne Clare, World Wildlife Fund - Arctic Programme; Michael Alexander, World Wildlife Fund - International pdf

Format: Presentations and roundtable discussion

 


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