Why would members of remote tribal communities, heads of state, Nobel Laureates, local activists, scientists, artists, and people like you plan to travel to Salamanca Spain? The l0th World Wilderness Congress will convene there on October 4 involving a great diversity of people, professions and activists who understand the importance of wild nature to a healthy and prosperous human society. You can attend and interact with these environmental and conservation leaders.
HM Queen Sofia of Spain has endorsed the aims of WILD10! As the Presidenta de Honorífica (Honorary President), Her Majesty will help represent the conservation and environmental mission to the world. The Congress will convene in the lovely and ancient town of Salamanca, situated near the Portuguese border in Western Spain’s dehesa, the rolling countryside full of holm, live oaks. It is close to cultural sites and wild areas. Just a two-hour car drive from Madrid, and also served by train from Madrid’s Chamartin Station, Salamanca is the right sized town, with excellent facilities and a popular ancient Plaza. The old town is full of tavernas, cervecerias (for beer and tapas), wonderful Spanish food and great yet inexpensive Spanish wines. The town will turn out everything for WILD10 delegates, their citizens will be involved and there are already strong working partnerships with the University of Salamanca (almost 800 years old!), the University Pontificia, and the museums.
This focal point of the 40 year old Wild Foundation’s activities http://www.wild.org/ has become the world’s longest-running, international, public conservation project. It is collaboration between indigenous groups, governments and experts in diverse fields, community representatives, businesses, scientists, artists and many more. They recognize that culture is equally as important as good policy, effective resource management and state-of-the-art science.
Every four years this ongoing public conservation project focuses on practical & positive outcomes in policy, new protected areas, new funding mechanisms, trainings for communities and professionals. The list of past accomplishments is stunning such as with the introduction of a World Conservation Bank, leading to the formation of The Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank. Side by side with larger initiatives, individuals will present their local work demonstrating the power of “thinking globally while working locally”. Of course the Congresses are always full of the fun and the camaraderie of being with like minded people who are doing great work.
More than a “conference,” rather it is a process of international, interdisciplinary collaboration aimed towards achievable results that combines people with wild nature. It emphasizes the importance of hope and inspiration!
The 8th Congress in Alaska in 2005 drew about l, 200 persons from 60 nations; the next in Merida in the Yucatan in Mexico in 2009 attracted 1,800 from 50 nations and tens of thousands more participated electronically. Wild l0 in Salamanca may set new records for attendance but the focused leadership has its eye on measurable results. There will be 7 days of varied and exciting activities with announcements of successes achieved and new visions undertaken. There will be cultural events, trainings, and symposia, and the opportunity to meet one on one with people who can help you advance your issues.
This Congress is sited in Spain because of international efforts directed at Rewilding Europe and making it a more nature friendly place. Changes in the political and cultural landscape during the past few decades has resulted in vast numbers of people abandoning the land in favor of towns and cities. This encourages bringing back a great variety of life while exploring new ways for people to earn a fair living from wild lands. Europe aims to rewild one million hectares of land by 2020, creating 10 magnificent wildlife and wilderness areas in the process. This initiative has significant international support from WWF Netherlands, ARK Nature, Wild Wonders of Europe, PAN Parks and Conservation Capital and others.
According to the 2010 “Living Planet Report”, the period 1970 to 2007 saw an average increase of wild animal populations of 43% in Europe as the natural functioning of most European ecosystems returns. The land has benefitted more than the sea, many marine species still struggle, often associated with the escalating overharvest of diminishing fish resources. The Wilderness Foundation has a long involvement with marine issues and global leaders in this area are regular participants in the Congresses.
We all know the land and sea, air and water and the wild nature they contain is under threat around the world. All of human society needs to be engaged in new, creative and cooperative intergenerational and intercultural solutions if we are to live sustainably on this planet. This global gathering in Salamanca will be a benchmark of progress towards those solutions. Join us and participate in this conversation and be inspired to action.