Getting Congressional Approval for Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation Funding

Most of the people who are involved in biodiversity conservation work will agree with the assertion that the government funding that is available for biodiversity conservation is inadequate. And in order to get the government to significantly enhance the funding for biodiversity conservation, it may be necessary to convince the members of the congress that such funding is necessary. This is because when all is said and done, it is the members of the congress who ultimately approve government budget proposals.

I have come to believe that we need help from the professional lobbyists, if we are to be successful in getting congressional approval for enhanced biodiversity conservation funding. Some people argue that it is unethical to use the services of the said professional lobbyists. But that is debatable. For if we have no qualms using the services of attorneys in courts (to avoid going to jail or to avoid losing civil suits), I see no reason as to why we should hesitate to use the services of the professional congressional lobbyists. Trying to lobby the members of congress directly more often than not results in failure: because the members of congress are beholden to various vested interests. It takes an experienced professional lobbyist to figure out how to present the agenda, in order to curry favor with the congressmen.

Should we decided to use them, the brief of the lobbyists would be to (convincingly) show the congress members why we exactly we need the extra money. The needs are many: ranging from biodiversity conservation research, biodiversity conservation advocacy and biodiversity conservation outreach. It is within the domain of biodiversity conservation outreach that we find things like biodiversity conservation media campaigns and the improvement of biodiversity conservation college courses. At first sight, one gets the impression that these things don’t require a lot of money. But the truth of the matter is in that these activities are very costly, especially if we insist on them being done the right way. And if we can get the congress to increase biodiversity conservation funding by just 20%, that would translate into quite a bit of cash — which would then have great impact on biodiversity conservation work.

My Experience Teaching a College Class On Biodiversity

In the last one year, I have had the opportunity to teach a college class on biodiversity, to students who are pursuing botany and zoology courses. It has been an interesting experience. In the course of teaching the college class on biodiversity, I have made several observations.

Firstly, I have observed (with great concern) that most of my students are only interested in mastering enough facts about biodiversity to pass their examinations. They are not interested in understanding why biodiversity is important in real life, what they can do to conserve biodiversity… and so on. They are only interested in passing their exams, and forgetting about biodiversity soon thereafter. As I have come to view it, from the students’ perspectives, the whole thing is akin to when one goes to the Gap eService website, with the objective of going through the motions of the Gap credit card application procedure. One is inclined to leave the website, and forget about it completely, once he manages to make the application. But education is supposed to be different. One is supposed to be learning with the objective of retaining the knowledge for a lifetime. But the students have a more expedient view of things: they learn in order to pass their exams, period.

Secondly, I have observed that there are relatively few good textbooks on the subject of biodiversity that I can refer my students to. Even where textbooks are available, they only deal with the technical aspects of biodiversity. It is hard, for instance, to find a book dealing with the subject of the cost of running a biodiversity advocacy organization. For some of these topics, I have had to dictate notes to students: a practice I abhor, because under normal circumstances, I prefer to simply refer my students to specific textbooks.

Thirdly, I have observed that high schools do (what is in my opinion) a rather poor job of preparing students for college. I have found myself having to teach my students basic facts: things that they should have learned in high schools.

The Most Important Thing in Conservation of Biodiversity

People often ask me the question as to if there is one key thing that, when done right, would really make a huge difference in conservation of biodiversity. I often get this question of politicians, who are fond of reducing complex issues into sound-bites. Such folks are not really interested in reading the huge tomes of books that deal with the subject of biodiversity conservation in depth. They are not even interested in reading the lengthy articles on the subject, which occur from time to time in the newspapers and journals. And I can’t blame them: I doubt if I would be reading these things, if my livelihood didn’t depend on it. It is so hard to get people to appreciate biodiversity. Still, I have to answer the question as to whether there is one single thing that, when done right, would really make a difference in the conservation of biodiversity.

The answer is yes: there is indeed one thing that, when done right, would really make a huge difference in conservation of biodiversity. That ‘thing’ is the identification and special protection of endangered species in various habitats. When we talk of ‘conserving’ biodiversity, there is one inference to be made: that there must be some sort of ‘threat’ to the biodiversity, to warrant conservation efforts. And indeed such threat exists: as some species are at risk of getting extinct. With loss of such species, biodiversity would be reduced. So the whole effort is aimed at forestalling the extinction of such species.

In the final analysis, people who are interested in conserving biodiversity should be working hard to identify the species, within their localities, that face the danger of being extinct. They should then be working hard to ensure that such species are protected. If we get this right, it will really make a huge difference in the conservation of biodiversity. Of course, the whole thing is likely to work even better if the effort at conservation of biodiversity is coordinated at the global level. Such coordination can easily be done through the Internet. Using SBCglobal email, for instance, it would just be a question of the various folks who are involved in the conservation effort to go to the SBCglobal login page, and from there log into their Sbcglobal.net email accounts. After logging in, they can then proceed to send messages to each other, regarding their conservation efforts. Such high-level coordination can make a huge difference in the whole effort.

Getting People to Appreciate Biodiversity

It is not easy to get people to appreciate biodiversity. With the exception of people who have scientific training in areas like ecology, zoology, botany and environmental studies, the rest of the folks tend to have very little interest in matters to do with biodiversity. Yet it is critical for all people to be interested in biodiversity: because everyone has a role to play in the conservation of biodiversity. Thus a question comes up as to how we can get people to be interested in matters to do with biodiversity.

In my opinion, there are three keys to success in this endeavor (of trying to get people to appreciate biodiversity).

Firstly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that all species within our ecosystem are there to serve a certain purpose. And that ecological imbalance is bound to occur, whenever a species in the system is interfered with. Then you can proceed to explain that this sort of imbalance can trigger a series of other imbalances, which can ultimately lead to a situation where our very existence as human beings is imperiled.

Secondly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that biodiversity is beneficial to us as a species. This may entail a demonstration of the fact that if the generations before us hadn’t conserved the biodiversity, some of the organisms that give us medicine today wouldn’t be there. Those were more or less ‘useless’ organisms then, but our forefathers nonetheless opted to conserve them. Now we are benefiting from them.

Thirdly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that biodiversity is beneficial to them, as individuals. This is a question of appealing to the people’s self-interest. Suppose, for instance, you are addressing the folks who work for a company like UPS: whose employees online portal is Upsers.com. That, of course, is not the site where clients with UPS tracking number slips can track their shipments’ progress. On the contrary, it is a site where Uspers are able to check their pay stubs, work schedules, company news and so on. While addressing such folks (like the UPS workers in question), you have to ensure that your message connects with their individual self-interests. That is the only way in which you can get the message to click with them.

But as we are all aware, most people tend to ‘tune off’ the moment topics like the one on biodiversity are introduced for discussion. Thus, special effort has to be made, if the message on the importance of biodiversity is to get through. The lessons on biodiversity have to be very carefully tailored. The lessons have to be very brief. The language used has to be very simple, yet attractive. The lessons on the importance of biodiversity have to be presented in such a manner that the targeted audience ‘sees the point’ in the whole thing. It is hard, but gradually, the people may get to a point of genuinely appreciating biodiversity.