Conservation Week 2011 – Meet the Locals meets some very generous kiwis
It hardly seems like a few months, let alone a whole year since the last Conservation Week Special. Amazing to think that in the intervening year not only were another 12 episodes of the show filmed but quite a few conservation challenges were met too.
Now more than ever conservation needs to be both understood and valued by the public. Whilst New Zealand’s economy is relatively insulated from the unfolding global financial crisis we are unfortunately not immune. The result is a sea-change in the political view of the economy and a shifting economic view of conservation investment, the result: a shrinking baseline. These tough times mean that now more than ever conservation is looking to individuals and businesses for support and so the perspective and values of those generous individuals and companies count. The ‘Disneyfication’ of nature in the eyes of the general public (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/5334136/Few-happy-feet-in-our-forests) means that we risk the fundamental strategy necessary to see competent and far-sighted conservation measures if resource management allows itself to be driven by superficial perceptions and marketing psychology.
Luckily for New Zealand, the majority of those with even a moderate interest in the environment comprehend the need to tackle the real issues – protecting habitat, controlling and eradicating invasive pest species and managing the interests of our precious fauna and flora. So against this stressful backdrop this years’ Conservation Week Special focuses on the contribution made by some very special private individuals to the greatest cause on earth, trying to protect something of what we have now, to pass on to the next generation.
So this years programme focuses on the generosity, vision and commitment of three individuals and their businesses. We start off with John Steffens of the Fiordland Lobster Company who have supported the ambitious project to return kokako to the forest of Fiordland through reintroducing North Island birds back into the habitat of their now extinct southern cousins. We then see the fabulous contribution the Liz Colins, founder of the leading environmentally and ethically sound designer clothing company Chalkydigits to restoring the fauna to the remote and pest eradicated Chalky Island. Finally we meet with Greg Hay of Peregrine Wines who’s personal passion, as with our other guests, has lead him to support and become thoroughly involved in the conservation of a number of our most threatened bird species through his relationship with the Fiordland Conservation Trust.
If you think businesses supporting conservation is nothing more than ‘greenwashing’ or a cynical marketing ploy then please take a look at this: CWS2011