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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 8 2012: Education requirements for high school and university students would also spread basic environmental principles, as would focusing the attentions of programs like Americorp and Foodcorp on sustainability so that people can gain real life experience while being educated. I think for programs like this to be really successful though the actions they are taking need to be determined from a more centric point. Goal and strategy setting are necessary for any kind of planetary sustainability to be attained.

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