Conservation on a Human Scale
Rare inspires change so people and nature thrive.
Conservation ultimately comes down to people – their behaviors toward nature, their beliefs about its value, and their ability to protect it without sacrificing basic life needs. And so, conservationists must become as skilled in social change as in science; as committed to community-based solutions as national and international policymaking.
Nowhere are community-based solutions needed more than in the world’s areas of highest biodiversity – from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa and India to Asia and the Pacific islands. These areas may be rich in natural resources, but poverty is also high, making social and environmental change a challenge for hundreds of thousands of communities.
Rare and its partners in 50+ countries throughout these regions are committed to designing conservation programs that benefit both people and nature – ensuring that change is embraced and sustained.
The Rare approach includes:
1) Determining human behaviors causing threats to biodiversity, such as overfishing, illegal logging, or unsustainable agriculture
2) Conducting an ongoing search for the most innovative community-based solutions proven to change these behaviors – what Rare calls conservation “bright spots”
3) Launching social marketing campaigns to increase adoption of these alternative behaviors in the world’s highest priority areas for conservation.
Putting conservation in local hands
While Rare sources solutions, it does not directly implement outreach at the local level. Changing behaviors requires a nuanced understanding of social and cultural norms and trusted messengers from within each community. Therefore, Rare trains local partners and supports them during all stages of implementing what’s known as a “Pride campaign.” Learn more about running a Pride campaign in your community.
A Pride campaign inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique, while also giving them alternatives to environmentally destructive behaviors.
Photo above: Pride campaign in Nicaragua.
Rare trains local leaders to run “Pride campaigns” – which borrow private sector marketing tactics normally reserved for selling things like cars, soft drinks, and video games – and use them to sell more sustainable behaviors.
Creating power in numbers
Each Pride campaign targets a specific site, yet Rare launches them in cohorts of 10-15 — all focused on a common issue — so that partners can share learning and serve as a network for broader change. In the Andes, for example, Rare is working with partners at 11 sites to introduce incentives for watershed protection. In the Coral Triangle – a vast area in Southeast Asia that is home to 75% of the world’s coral species - Rare is working with dozens of communities to train fishers on the benefits of better managing their protected areas, as well as providing the tools to do so.
Each year, Rare and its partners launch Pride cohorts in each of the four languages in which our training is offered. The focus for each cohort is determined approximately one year in advance, at which time Rare begins recruiting partners with shared goals and capacity to participate in the three-year program.