« The Environmental Impacts Of Christmas | Main | QUIZ: Where Should You Volunteer In Spring 2016? »

What's Happening In Conservation In 2016?

Now that the Christmas and New Year dust has settled and the routines are setting in again, it might be a good time to take note of a few dates for the conservation diary in 2016.

It’s going to be an important year in the conservation world (not that there’s ever an unimportant one), as a fair number of important events are taking place. Here are two in particular that are extremely noteworthy as well as a rundown of what they are and what they mean. Hopefully they will play a role in making the future of the natural world a little brighter by this time next winter.

flickr | JamesThe IUCN Congress

In September the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are meeting in Hawaii for their 4 yearly congress to discuss the state of the natural world and set in motion plans to improve its wellbeing. This will lead on from the UN’s plan of Sustainable Development Goals that came in September 2015.

Phew! Now the boring big words are out the way, what does this actually mean? Put simple, it means that efforts all over the world to preserve the natural world are speeding up. Fast. It means that the wheels are in motion to right the ship and move conservation and sustainability onto an upward trajectory.

flickr | Daniel X. O'Neil

In September the IUCN will launch the “Hawaii Commitments”, initiatives designed to “meet the critical challenges” and “scale up action on sustainable development goals”. Yes, that does all sound like committee smoke and mirrors but the fact remains that more and more projects are starting up to help wildlife, more and more gadgets and wiz-bangs are being invented to help with pollution and global warming and, maybe most importantly, more and more people are taking an interest.

The Ocean Cleanup

A big example of this potential snowball effect is also taking place this year. The Ocean Cleanup will be launching their pilot programme later this year off the Japanese coast. It’s come about from when a 21-year-old Dutch inventor designed away to, essentially, let the oceans clean themselves! The inventor in question even won the Champions of Earth Award from the United Nations Environment Programme.

flickr | Steven GuerrisiNow here comes some science so deep breaths. This is done by maximising ocean currents to draw in floating plastic and other debris to two massively long floating arms which will collect it. Through cleaning the oceans of plastic, the food chain theoretically could clean up to such a degree that things like cancer could become less common and ocean animals more populous. With the pilot programme surfacing this year, it may not be too long before these platforms are in full effect globally. See, gadgets and wiz-bangs

So, big steps forward to make changes to the way we approach conservation and a pioneering idea set in motion to clean up our oceans and, as a consequence, make life better for everything on the food chain. What’s going on in conservation in 2016? Well, not much.

By Guy Bezant  Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer