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Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Conservation Collective, on Ibiza: “The urgency to stop climate change is difficult to get into people’s heads”

Eivissa hosts a working meeting of The Conservation Collective, a global network of fifteen environmental organisations, created in different corners of the world inspired by the Ibiza Preservation model, working to protect the environment.

“Everywhere you look there are people working to protect their environment and our aim is to find these local heroes, who often struggle without resources, and put money in their hands so that they can carry out their projects“. With these words, Jade Brudenel sums up the objective of The Conservation Collective. She is the executive director of this global network of local environmental foundations working to protect the environment and fight climate change in their respective territories.

Brudenell and members of most of the entities that make up this collective are meeting over the next few days in a Santa Eulària villa for a working meeting. The host is Ibiza Preservation, which is also the pioneering foundation whose model has served as an inspiration for the rest, as its executive director, Inma Saranova, remarks.

“We wanted to meet face to face and look for more effective ways to work together for the future, to support each other and to share solutions to common problems,” explains Brudenell regarding the motivations behind this meeting, which will last until next Thursday, March 31st.

The Conservation Collective has 15 members

At present there are fifteen organisations from different parts of the world that make up the The Conservation Collective network. In 2008 Ibiza Preservation was born and, following its example, from 2015 environmental foundations were created in the Caribbean country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Majorca, Menorca, the Cyclades (Greece), Barbados, the Ionian Islands (Greece), Sri Lanka, Devon (UK), the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (UK), Lamu (Kenya), Tuscany (Italy), the Argolic Gulf (Greece), Cyprus and the Turquoise Coast (Turkey). “There are many other destinations in the pipeline, such as Malta or Sicily, but, at the moment, we have neither the time nor the capacity to integrate them,” admits Brudenell.

The Conservation Collective was launched in 2020 by Jade Brudenell herself and her friend Ben Goldsmith, philanthropist and co-founder of Ibiza Preservation and the other entities that make it up. The work of this global network, says its executive director, is “to launch, incubate and shape new foundations based on the model that was first established in Eivissa, work to strengthen ties between members and give them support in areas such as logistics, communication, financial management and fundraising”. “The most important thing is to find groups of donors, give them the tools and infrastructure and show them how they can create an environmental foundation in the place where they live or have a passion for,” he says.

“What makes our way of working special is that we are looking for local solutions to global problems”, emphasize both Brudenell and Saranova.

Major goals

“All the organisations in The Conservation Collective are working on marine conservation, landscape regeneration, protecting species and habitats and seeking ways to slow down climate change“, Brudenell highlights as the major common goals of the fifteen entities.

In the Mediterranean, the priorities revolve around posidonia, the protection of turtles and putting an end to plastics, among other issues

This global network, based in London, allows for the exchange of information, experiences and ways of working between places with similar problems. In this way, initiatives that work in one territory are sometimes transferred to another. For example, the project Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera, to progressively eliminate single-use plastics in the Pitiüses, has been replicated in Menorca. Likewise, the Cyclades and Mallorca intend to implement projects similar to that of the Ibiza Foundation’s Sustainability Observatory.

On the other hand, there are actions that are carried out between several entities. For example, The Conservation Collective, together with its three Balearic entities and the Marilles Foundation, is participating in a study on illegal fishing in the Balearic Islands.

One of the initiatives shared by all the members of the network is ‘The Iris Project’, designed to involve young people in environmental conservation, which in the Balearic Islands has resulted in the environmental prize ‘Kilometres of plastic for Iris’.

The meeting in Eivissa is expected to give rise to more joint projects and collaborations.

Sources of funding

In the environmental sector it is really difficult to raise funds because people think that the problem is so big that it cannot be solved or that causes such as, for example, saving the orangutans are too far away. But if it is the people of a specific area, who have first-hand knowledge of its environmental problems, who are in charge of finding donors among the people who love that place, it’s easier to raise money,” says the executive director of The Conservation Collective.

Brudenell goes on to say that “the urgency to stop climate change is difficult to get into people’s heads. People can only think about the problems that are happening now, covid, the war… when climate change is generating and is going to generate many refugees,” she says.

Since the creation of the global network’s first foundation, Ibiza Preservation, Brudenell estimates that more than £6 million has been raised, mostly from individuals but also from companies. After the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, financial cooperation from companies was reduced and it was more difficult to find new donors, according to the executive director of The Conservation Collective.

Each foundation, made up of one, two or, the largest ones, three members, has a budget of 100,000€ at the outset, which is expected to grow annually by 20%. In the case of the Eivissa foundation, which has been in operation for the longest time, “it is estimated that in 2022 it will have 511,000€,” says Saranova. “The long-term goal is that 70% of the budget will go to projects and the rest to expenses,” Brudenell remarks.

Working with small teams and small budgets to make a big impact is complicated. “In these two years we are learning to prioritize. There is a lot to do and it is very easy to feel overwhelmed,” acknowledges the executive director of The Conservation Collective. Precisely one of the workshops that will take place during this meeting in Eivissa, which will be given by the coach Sandra Ciscar, aims to provide tools to prioritize effectively and achieve the desired environmental impact.

For the full article, please visit Diario de Ibiza website here.

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