TED Conversations

Lauren Hawkins


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From ivory tower to prison cell: How can we bring conservation efforts to the public?

Conservation and other environmental movements have long been viewed as the initiatives of a select group of people. Rare, an international conservation group, seeks to change conservation policy by turning it into a movement that derives support from the public. As there website states, “conservationists must become as skilled in social change as in science; as committed to community-based solutions as national and international policy making.”

How can this be accomplished? The Sustainable Prisons Project in Washington State offers a novel approach to Rare’s mission. This project, a partnership between The Evergreen State College and Washington State Department of Corrections, allows inmates across Washington to participate in environmental education, sustainable practices, and science research projects. Learn more about this program at http://blogs.evergreen.edu/sustainableprisons/stories/prisons-with-nature/.

Creative conservation initiatives like the Sustainable Prisons Project help both the conservation movement and the participants of the program. How can we expand this project to other parts of the global community in order to fully bring conservation to the forefront of political and social discussions?


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    Jun 6 2012: That is exactly what I am saying. We really need to teach the you what is right and and wrong. Once they know that they will grow up with these ideals. That means that in 15 years it will be "cool" to have an electric car or grow your own their own garden. Trends and fads are very influential to our you and all we need to do is make our children think that being eco-frienly is cool then it will change the future.
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      Jun 6 2012: Although I agree that creating a trend to make environmental friendliness cool would make it more common, there is more to the success of a movement than just making something cool in the moment. There needs to be longevity and a clear motivation for and reason behind a movement in order to make it successful. If there is doubt even now among many politicians and a surprising percent of the general public about whether or not environmental problems even exist and if they are important, how would you propose that we create an attitude of environmental protectionism?
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      Jun 6 2012: I agree, the future relies on our children. With our generation aware of the consequences, it is up to us to raise the children with a green mind. Our generation will make the changes while the next lives it. People need to transition over now, because the longer we wait the less likely it will happen.

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