With more than five million members, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the world’s largest conservation organisation.
In spring 2012 it became notorious because one of its honorary presidents, the Spanish King Juan Carlos, went hunting elephants in Botswana. This NGO received mass criticism to have a hunter as honorary president of the Spanish section, being a wildlife conservation organization. In July, an extraordinary assembly decided to sack him with a vote carried by a 94% majority. However, it was a hard blow for the image of this organization and some members resigned.
WWF has been linked to the monarchies for a long time. One of its founders was the Prince Consort of the Netherlands, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, and its current president is Charles, Prince of Wales. The aim is having international projection and making sure that WWF acts and campaigns appear not only in environmental publications but also in gossip magazines, to reach many more people, more or less as if we were talking of goodwill ambassadors.
Leaving this issue aside, WWF plays a very important role. This NGO creates and manages many protected areas, launches campaigns to protect species, collaborates with indigenous communities to preserve territories… WWF has more than 1,200 projects around the world.
And besides this field work, WWF also plays a significant role in denouncing environmental problems of our planet. Among other documents, this organization publishes a report called the Living Planet, analysing the health of our planet, with many data and proposals for a better future. Read this report and you will learn how things are and which problems we should face. And, most importantly, you will realise that we should change many things: either we reduce the impact of human activity on the environment or our future is doomed to failure.
Some data from this report, which we encourage you to read:
- The planet biodiversity in the last 35 years has been reduced by 30%.
- Our current consumption of raw materials exceeds by 50% the planet’s regenerating capacity. We live in one planet, but we consume as if we were living in one and a half planets.
- Deforestation and forest degradation account for 20% of our CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
- Only a third of the world’s rivers longer than 1,000 km are free flowing, without dams.
- In the last 50 years, global sea fishing has increased five-fold, so many species are overexploited.
- The past few decades have been warmer than any other comparable period for the last 400 years.
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Fund_for_Nature
- WWF removes King Juan Carlos as its honorary president: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18942736
- Goodwill ambassadors: http://www.deliveringdata.com/2011/07/goodwill-ambassadors.html
- Living Planet Report 2012: http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/1_lpr_2012_online_full_size_single_pages_final_120516.pdf