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Geoffrey Wells

Fiction author, essayist, Author - A Fado for the River

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Create global standards for marketing the devaluation of ivory and fund science-based, bio diverse human and elephant habitats.

Elephants are dying in alarming numbers, and with them our hope for a bio-diverse world dies too. Game reserves, which need additional staff to protect elephants, have started hiring poachers to protect elephants and tourism. Yet the families of poachers need to eat and poaching syndicates and organized crime compensate them well—provided the poachers meet their quota. But tusks-for-arms, and tusks-for-drugs deals have profound international ramifications. The fact remains; if tusks are devalued, less arms and drugs change hands.
Unlike the illegal (and ineffective) animal products in “traditional medicine” potions, the legal Big Pharma advertising of impotence products has been effective—just ask Pfizer, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, with combined global sales of about $2.5 billion of impotence drugs in 2011. If Big Pharma can profit from the marketing of “Impotence”, perhaps sustainable bio diversity programs can profit from marketing the “Potence” (read potential) of living elephants in the wild. Eco-tourism will flourish and bankrupt rebel armies will dwindle. Living elephants will save lives and make for a safer world.
Well, here’s an idea worth spreading, taking a cue from Jason Clay’s TED Talk, “How big brands can help save biodiversity.”; why not create global standards for marketing the devaluation of ivory and fund science-based, bio diverse human and elephant habitats that are mutually sustainable? This is attainable partly through open-source science, which is taking hold. It takes a viral, transparent and inclusive virtual room to see the big picture where our common interests are intricately interconnected; one where all can participate in the conversation; families who share land with elephants and Asian consumers who pay high prices for ivory products and demand traditional impotency remedies. Let’s dare to look forward to a more holistic and informed future.

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Closing Statement from Geoffrey Wells

My notion of a global standard for marketing the devaluation of ivory, has been shaped by Allan Savory (http://on.ted.com/eSIG #TED). He has shown that a well executed proven method can change our world. I seek the same approach in changing our diverse attitudes to not only elephants, but all living creatures, but am aware that unless a holistic view is assumed, the concept will not take hold. Allan himself, learnt from his own disastrous experiment with elephants. The conclusion of this TED conversation is that my theory must be proven and built in small increments. The dialog continues...

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    Feb 14 2013: With today's technology and social media reach, a properly crafted message that RESONATES well is not difficult.The nobler the cause, the viral it gets. Nothing is impossible until it is tried. It was thought running a mile under a minute was impossible until someone proved it wrong!
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      Feb 14 2013: I agree fully and your point is well taken. However. the reason I propose a GLOBAL STANDARD for the UNSELLING of ivory, is that the concept of the message must resonate with diverse cultures. So, while the message itself might change to appeal to communities as different as affluent Chinese businessmen to African poachers, the concept must communicate the idea that the most valuable tusk is the one on a living elephant--any other tusk is just animal bone. If you look at anti-smoking campaigns over the years, various approaches have been taken, but the concept is the same; smoking kills. The anti-ivory concept is different because the message is not negative. Living elephants with tusks intact are better sources of potential revenue because it's a sustainable economic model. Communicating that idea so that it resonates globally is the goal--and the challenge.
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    Feb 12 2013: Advertising can achieve remarkable cultural changes. We must try, and yes, it will be a long road. However, saving one elephant, one family from tragedy makes it worth the effort. Please reach out to your advertising and marketing associates, and share this idea. Thanks.
  • Feb 12 2013: This makes me sick too. We have already lost a number of species. We can try, but it doesn't always work.