Simply put, conservation efforts depend on winning the hearts and minds of a community, whether local or global. Are the tools available being used effectively?
Is a photograph still worth a 1000 words? It is often said that a visual image delivers a much clearer message to the majority of people, than words alone. Certainly the power of the photograph has long been a mainstay of the charity world to invoke emotion, and you could argue there is no better medium for the job of raising instant awareness and empathy for a cause. The International League of Conservation Photographers1 is an example of an organisation who clearly believes this. By linking with scientists and NGOs, the photographers aim to further environmental and cultural conservation. But are photographs being utilised effectively, and can conservationists learn anything from politics?
During the 2012 American presidential election, social media played a vital role in securing Obama his second term2. Not surprising when you consider one study3 showing that young people are twice as likely to vote if they are politically active online and another that 39% of all American adults participate in online political activism. Ok, so you might ask what politics has to do with conservation. When you consider that both politics and conservation have the same ultimate goal, to cause action in an individual and community, then perhaps it is worth taking note.
Is the photograph still vital to conservation? Is social media being used as effectively as it should be? Is conservation truly engaging?
Our annual photography competition is currently open to amateur photographers, so feel free to check it out: http://www.thomsonecology.com/
2 - http://mprcenter.org/blog/2013/01/25/how-obama-won-the-social-media-battle-in-the-2012-presidential-campaign/
3 - http://ypp.dmlcentral.net/sites/all/files/publications/PDK_Digital_Media_Shapes_Youth_Participation.pdf
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