The World Wildlife Fund, with its familiar panda logo is famous for its extensive conservation efforts. The Switzerland based organization is generally known by its initials, WWF.
WWF was created in 1961 by a group of passionate individuals who searched to secure the funding needed to protect places and species that were threatened by human development. Inspired by a series of articles in a British newspaper written by Sir Julian Huxley about the destruction of habitat and wildlife in East Africa, businessman Victor Stolan identified the urgent need for an organization to raise funds for conservation. The idea was embraced by Max Nicholson, Director General of British government agency Nature Conservancy, who took up the challenge.
Nicholson was motivated by the financial difficulties facing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and felt that a new fundraising initiative might help IUCN and other conservation groups carry out their mission. He drafted a plan in April 1961 that served as a basis for WWF’s founding, which was then endorsed by the executive board of IUCN in a document known as the Morges Manifesto.
Nicholson and approximately two dozen other individuals sorted out the details of the new organization in a series of meetings over the following months. This included choosing the name World Wildlife Fund and adopting the famous panda logo.
Since then, the organization has included conservationists and businessmen, knowing that public support, well managed actions and solid scientific data would be fundamental to be successful in its mission. WWF also recognizes that effective efforts involve cooperation between non-governmental agencies, local governments, and local populations. From its early days, WWF has worked closely with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and currently, it maintains a diverse range of partnerships, including world leaders and representatives of the United Nations, World Bank, and European Commission.
Over its 45 years of existence the organization has raised a considerable amount of dollars, funding thousands of conservation initiatives around the world. These include efforts focused on individual species, forests, and marine issues as well as climate change. It’s also important to mention its efforts to provide a safe and sustainable habitat for the world’s peoples, both urban and rural, including clean water, clean air, healthful food, and recreation areas.
The WWF work is focused around six ambitious goals:
Climate change already has a considerable impact on wild animals around the planet. Changes in climate are altering the timing of life cycles, causing species to shift where they live, and in some cases even leading to extinction. We can help species adapt to our changing world by ensuring that our own responses to climate change factor in the health and wellbeing of the habitat and resources on which they depend.
To address the climate crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming. Combining global outreach with local expertise, WWF’s focus is on preparing for a changing world, delivering on the promise of the Paris agreement and reducing emissions from deforestation.
Around the globe, food production, distribution, management and waste threaten wildlife, wild places and the planet itself. So how do we produce more food for more people without expanding the land and water already in use?
In the next 40 years, increased demand for food will put pressure on agricultural, aquaculture and fishing resources that are already strained. The strain to produce crops and sell food at affordable levels will impact the planet and the world’s poor. Local communities, industry leaders, governments, and non-governmental organizations must work together to produce better and consume more wisely.
WWF’s actions are based on increasing supply and demand of more sustainably sourced food, education and reducing food waste.
Deforestation disrupts the lives of local communities, sometimes with devastating consequences. Forests provide a large variety of resources to all of us, including food, wood, medicine, fresh water, and the air we breathe. Without the trees, the ecosystem that supports the human population can fall apart.
WWF seeks to influence funding and policies related to forest conservations. It’s also urgent to stop illegal and unsustainable logging.
Water is the world’s most precious resource, fueling everything from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the energy we depend upon every day. Despite the massive role water plays for people and nature, it is a finite resource. Less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh and accessible.
WWF is promoting good water governance, protecting freshwaters ecosystems and managing water resources in a changing climate.
Oceans play a crucial role in keeping the planet’s temperature balanced and driving weather, such as rainfall and winds. Unfortunately, they have absorbed most of the planet’s warming and a significant amount of our carbon pollution as a result of human-caused climate change. Warmer ocean waters are driving stronger storms and bleaching coral reefs. As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, it becomes more acidic, threatening most organisms, including small crustaceans that are fundamental to the marine food chain.
WWF works helping people fish better once unsustainable fishing is a leading cause of declines in marine life. They also act supporting resilient ecosystems and communities.
We must protect wildlife for many reasons: it is a source of inspiration and nurtures a sense of wonder. It is also crucial to the balance of nature.
Conserving wildlife is at heart of WWF’s mission. They focus on protecting populations of some of the world’s most ecologically, economically, and culturally important species – the survival of which are threatened by poaching, illegal trade and habitat loss. Empowering people to protect wildlife is a real mission for the organization. WWF focuses on saving populations of the most ecologically, economically and culturally important species in the wild. Ultimately, by protecting species, we save this beautiful, vulnerable and utterly irreplaceable planet we call home.
Today WWF is active in more than 100 countries and has millions of supporters all over the globe. In addition to focusing on specific local issues, WWF is addressing such global issues as climate change, sustainable development, safe agricultural practices, and responsible international trade.
The organization works to help local communities conserve the natural resources they depend upon; transform markets and policies toward sustainability; and protect and restore species and their habitats. Its efforts ensure that the value of nature is reflected in decision-making from a local to a global scale.
Today, human activities put more pressure on nature than ever before, but it’s also humans who have the power to change this path. Together, we can address the greatest threats to life on this planet and protect the natural resources that sustain and inspire all of us.