The Heart of Conservation

Conservation issues are the result of human impact, therefore without people, conservation wouldn’t exist. People are the heart of conservation.

Conservation is about finding solutions to problems that are caused by human attitudes and behaviours. If what we’re doing is the problem, then we hold the keys to the solutions. Conservation is also about compromise, balancing the needs of human communities with the needs of other species. It is also about acknowledging our place in nature, celebrating it and understanding that we do have an impact on the environment. We must believe that we can find solutions to benefit both our and other species.

Where do people fit in?

Modern day conservation is more mindful of the role people play in conservation, both as the source of conservation problems and as the keys to conservation solutions. This human role is termed the human or social dimension of conservation. Sarah Thomas, Head of Discovery and Learning at the Zoological Society London, believes that this dimension should factor in social science research, social interventions and social practices. Research in these areas help to build a social map of the conservation issue and brings answers to questions such as “Who is doing what?”, “Why are they doing it?” and “What are their thoughts and feelings?”. It is important to see conservation issues through the personal, societal and cultural lens so that social interventions such as conservation education programmes or community based social marketing campaigns can be planned, delivered and evaluated well.