Public Plenary (18:00 – 19:00 pm)

1. Nityanand Jayaraman

Date: 15 October 2019

Title: Climate Change V. Land-use Change: A case for Open Earth Economies Inspired by the Poromboke”

Abstract: Land-use change, not climate change, has been the most significant driver of ecological collapse. The latter, however, is overtaking in significance. Modern economy is premised on the need to dig, drill, pave and enclose land as the only way to derive value from spaces. The dominant worldview is of a paved earth economy that views open, unbuilt spaces as useless and underutilised. A “Paved Earth” economy on a global scale is at odds with survival of life and humanity on the planet. To tackle the ecological crisis, the global community would need revalourise open, unbuilt spaces, and learn from the medieval Tamil agrarian land use concept of the Poromboke. There is a need to refashion our societies as Open Earth economies, that value and protect open, unbuilt spaces as infrastructures of survival and resilience, even while deriving value from such spaces without killing the goose that lays the proverbial golden egg

2. Prerna Bindra

Date: 17 October 2019

Title: Voices in the Wilderness: Conservation in today’s India

Abstract: India has some of the strongest wildlife conservation laws globally, and a rich cultural tradition that revers all forms of life which has helped protect wild animals. Mega fauna like tigers, elephants, bears and leopards survive in one of the densest populations in the world, even as many countries have wiped out predators from their landscapes.India is changing. Fast. It is one of the world’s fastest growing economies (6-7% annually) with ambitions for a double-digit GDP. It’s rapidly urbanising with a burgeoning middle-class and 600 million young people, a market that multinationals across the globe seek to capture. The country is transforming rapidly-economically, politically, culturally.  India will soon have the world’s largest population, is extremely climate-vulnerable and is witnessing increasing internal conflict.How does one save wildlife in this complex, changing landscape will be the core question I will seek to address. I will discuss my experiences as a conservation journalist, an advocacy practitioner including my years in the National Board for Wildlife to demonstrate how stories, and advocacy, can help save our wildlife, and also, how successes in conservation can be ephemeral. Drawing from these, I will talk about the road ahead for conserving wildlife in a country, and a society, in flux.

3. Angelique Songco

Date: 18 October 2019

Title: Not About Managing Fish: A Case Study from the Tubbataha Reef

Abstract: The ocean covers 70% of the Earth.  It feed us, regulates our climate, and generates most of the oxygen we breathe.  It is one of the most threatened ecosystems in our planet.Overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and climate change among others, threaten its health.  Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one of the most effective tools for maintaining the health of the ocean and halting degradation.    The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park was established in 1988 as a no-take zone to protect coral reefs and marine wildlife.  It is the largest MPA comprising nearly 50% of all protected waters in the Philippines.  But inadequate public consultation marred relationships with stakeholders.  Confidence-building exercises, mainly dialogues and keeping promises, help bridge the divide.  Lines of communication are open and rule-making is participatory. But as fisheries dwindles elsewhere, the threat of illegal fishing remains.  Vigilant enforcement and an engaging public outreach program is maintained.  Science is kept robust to measure the efficacy of management strategies. Building reef resilience is pursued to mitigate against climate change.  Finally, isolated for two months, away from family and friends, marine park rangers man their solitary outpost in the middle of the sea.  Morale is kept high by providing effective communication and other equipment in the field, timely rotations at the end of tours of duty, and building capacity to manage.  Protecting the ocean is not about managing fish.  It is about managing resource use and expectations, and truly caring about the welfare of people.