Voice of WILD10
Day Two: Saturday, October 5, 2013
Delegates arrived bright and early on a sunny Saturday morning for a panel on “Indigenous and Community Land and Seas: Working Together for Biocultural Resilience,” hearing from delegates from Australia, Greater Laponia in northern Sweden, Nigeria, and the UK on issues ranging from uncontrolled mining to the protection of sacred sites. The Global Gathering then heard from a dynamic panel on new constituencies for conservation, with WILD Foundation V.P. for Government Relations Julie Randall announcing the official launch of the WILD Cities Movement, and Crista Valentino the official launch of CoalitionWILD, a movement of rising young conservation leaders.
Several speakers discussed the critical problem of “nature deficit disorder” in youth, and how to reconnect children with nature. A panelist from Canada noted that ironically, the beaver, Canada’s national symbol, had been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Panelists described fascinating projects to connect youth to wilderness in Scotland, the UK, and the Middle East, with moving personal accounts from several young people about the positive impact that opportunities for wilderness experiences with other youth have had on their lives.
In a video message, Prince Charles told the delegates that “ecosystem services are public utilities,” declaring, “we need wilderness to be fully human—for our survival and for our sanity.” Panels on wilderness and the law and wilderness and art included reports on the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations of the U.S. Wilderness Act of 1964, and one speaker’s declaration that, “like art, nature is food for the soul,” as he led delegates through a vivid slideshow of human depictions of nature from 2500 BC to the present. Delegates learned abut the organic, nature-based architecture of Gaudi, and gave a standing ovation to creative conservationist Asher Jay’s visually stunning and politically and emotionally compelling presentation, in which she confided, “I feel responsible, personally, for everything that happens in the world.”
Technology and publishing took center stage in a panel discussing “Conservation Communications,” with Robert Baron of the International League of Conservation Writers concluding, “We are drowning in data. That is not where the meaning is. John Muir and Rachel Carson touched our hearts and our minds.”
After a quick break, and a visit to the many booths in the WILD10 exhibition hall and Asher Jay’s beautiful exhibit, the Global Gathering was treated to “A Wild Music Medley,” with Spain’s Luis Paniagua playing “new ancestral music” on a mythological Greek lyre, American David Rothenberg accompanying a humpback whale, a lyre bird, a hermit thrush, and cicadas on the clarinet, Spain’s Raul Cobo and the Enriquito Sextet performing Flamenco-fusion, and Canada’s Baba Brinkman performing the WILD10 world premiere of “The Hip Hop Guide to Wilderness.” Shouts of “Otra!” and “Encore!” were heard at the end of each performance, before delegates finally spilled out onto Salamanca’s streets to enjoy a late dinner in the restaurants of the historic district.
Jennifer Scarlott, firstname.lastname@example.org