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What Is Conservation?

Conservation is a vast, interconnected and expansive principle that encompasses the protection, preservation and sustainable management of all aspects of our world – wildlife and natural habitats, culture, tradition, arts, artisanry, and the broader context of society as a whole.

At its core, conservation is about safeguarding the diversity and richness of life on Earth, ensuring that future generations can enjoy and benefit from the natural and cultural heritage that defines our planet.

When we think of conservation, usually, in terms of animals and habitats, it aims to preserve biodiversity and ensure the survival of species and ecosystems. This is vital to supporting the balance of nature and providing stability to various life forms (including us!). It involves protecting endangered species from extinction, and maintaining the health of ecosystems, vital not only for the survival of individual species but also for the balance of the ecosphere.

Every species, no matter how small, plays a role in its ecosystem, and the loss of any can, and does, have far-reaching impacts – as we are increasingly seeing. In this respect, conservation includes creating and managing protected areas, restoring degraded ecosystems, and implementing policies that reduce threats to wildlife, such as habitat destruction and illegal trade.

But what about culture and tradition?

Here, it takes on a different context and becomes the act of preserving and sustaining cultural practices, protecting cultural sites, documenting and revitalizing endangered languages, rituals, and the customs that define human societies. In this sense, conservation is essential for the rich diversity of human experiences and histories that have been passed down through generations, allowing future generations to understand and appreciate their ancestral heritage as well as value cultural diversity.

In the spaces of arts, music, and artisanry, conservation means protecting and nurturing the creative expressions of humanity. This includes safeguarding artworks, historical monuments, traditional languages, music forms, rituals and social practices ensuring the artistic and creative legacy of diverse cultures continues to inspire and educate future generations. Artisanry, or craftsmanship, is closely tied to cultural conservation – It is the preservation of traditional and sometimes ancient skills and techniques that have developed over centuries. These skills may be specific to a region or community and its cultural identity. Preserving these arts ensures valuable skills do not disappear in the face of modernization and globalization, as we move ever forward, ever faster.

Losing cultural heritage could be considered as devastating as the loss of biological diversity as it would represent the loss of human history and identity.

Society, of course, plays a critical role. The choices and actions of individuals, communities, and governments can either harm or help conservation efforts. Educating people about the importance of conservation, encouraging sustainable practices, and fostering a sense of stewardship for the natural world are essential for the long-term success of conservation initiatives. In the broader societal context, conservation is about creating sustainable ways of living that ensure the health and well-being of both the planet and its inhabitants. It involves making conscious decisions about how we consume resources, manage waste, interact with our environment and foster a culture of responsibility and respect towards the environment and each other.

In Summary

Fundamentally, conservation a multi-strand concept that is vital to support the integrity and continuity of life (as we know it) in all its forms, the survival and flourishing of our planet and its diverse inhabitants. It is a principle that requires a holistic understanding and collaborative effort across borders and agenda-drawn lines, with the need for collective effort and deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all aspects of life on Earth without ego, judgement nor bias.

Should we embrace the many forms of conservation and recognise that the preservation of a complex and interconnected world is central for the health and wellbeing of our planet, then we can ensure a balanced and sustainable future for generations to come.

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