Voice of WILD10
Day Seven: Thursday, October 10, 2013
There was no sense of slowing down on the final morning of the 10th World Wilderness Congress. Delegates clustered in the hallways of the beautiful Hospederia building before heading into the numerous morning workshops. Highlights of the morning included a session on the California Ocean Wilderness, another standing-room-only crowd in the third International League of Conservation Writers (ILCW) session on the Geography of Writing, another Rewilding in Europe session covering efforts in the Scottish Highlands, Spain, and the Iberian lynx, a WILD Cities session on Creating Enthusiasm for Urban Wild Nature, a continuing focus on WILD Waters, a popular panel on Educating the Next Generation of Nature Entrepreneurs, and too many more to squeeze into a blog post!
In the afternoon, delegates joined discussions on The Serengeti: Eternal or Perishable?, and The True Cost of Oil: Canada’s Tar Sands and the Last Great Forest. In the CoalitionWILD lounge over at the Palacio de Congresos, there was a full day of interactive meetings and presentations. In an important closing session, a panel on Next Steps for the Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas Forum articulated a vision for the future of conservation rooted in best practices of First Stewards and local communities.
All of the “collaboratives” began to finalize their draft resolutions that called for positive action on many fronts, across the world…and began to make some next step planning as a result of the new collaborators, ideas, methodologies, and inspiration from the entire WILD10. All the working groups also began to feed into the process of the “final” closing press release.
Globally renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, dubbed ‘Her Deepness’ over the years by various media outlets, gave a keynote presentation titled Marine Wilderness & Bringing Back the Wild in our Oceans at a Marine Wilderness Collaborative Roundtable. For the WILD10 Global Forum Grand Finale, Dr. Earle gave a rousing and emotional address calling for scientists and conservationists to join hands with citizens and governments to protect and restore the world’s oceans.
Sylvia Earle was joined by Sanctuary Asia founder Bittu Sahgal, who spoke across the generations, praising the efforts of CoalitionWILD in support of a new cohort of conservationists, and apologizing from his generation to succeeding ones for the ways in which the planet has been plundered. Sahgal expressed confidence that young people will repair and restore the earth parcel by parcel, and in describing why he has devoted his life to working with children through Sanctuary’s Kids for Tigers program, quoted Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
WILD10 Co-Chair Magnus Sylven led the delegates in a rousing howl to the returning wolves of Europe, as the Forum pledged itself to continue the work of WILD10 through resolutions and agreements, and daily boots-on-the-ground work re-inspired and re-invigorated by old and newly forged bonds at WILD10.
All delegates (still standing!) gathered in the Palacio for a spirited and emotional toast to a Wilder World…before spreading out throughout the old town of Salamanca to celebrate our collective work, and renewed vision.
Jennifer Scarlott, firstname.lastname@example.org