Our planet is changing. And it’s more important than ever that we take meaningful action to heal our planet. But how? And who will lead the charge? As part of the EarthHero Non-Profit Spotlight we’re highlighting amazing non-profits and charities who are dedicated to making our world a better, greener, place. To kick things off, we’re featuring The WILD Foundation – a historic organization that has been protecting our untouched spaces in nature for nearly half a century. Read on to learn their history, how they’re making an impact, and how you can get involved with their amazing foundation!
Non-Profit Spotlight: The WILD Foundation
What is the WILD Foundation?
Born out of the idea that respect for nature is the key to keeping the Earth healthy for generations to come, the WILD Foundation envisions a bold future for wilderness conversation – one that is about unity. Simply put: they are the people helping to keep our Earth wild.
50 years ago, their founders, a White game ranger named Ian Player and his Zulu mentor, Magqubu Nthombela, helped to save the Southern White Rhino from extinction. This was the first large mammal to be taken off of the endangered species list, and kicked off a much larger movement of animal conservation and protection. While fighting for the rights of the White Rhino, Player and Ntombela learned an extremely important lesson: that saving one species at a time is amazing progress, but will ultimately fail. The true solution is intact and interconnected wilderness that protects a diverse range of species.
To address this issue, in 1974, the WILD Foundation was born. Dedicated to building strong communities that respect, and protect nature for the benefit of all life on Earth, the WILD Foundation goes the extra mile to spread sustainability everywhere they work.
What is the WILD Foundation doing for our planet?
50 years later, WILD is still committed to building relationships with nature at the grassroots level, helping shape international policies to safeguard remaining wilderness, and stewarding a movement called Nature Needs Half that aims to protect 50% of the planet from deforestation and development. By tackling the issues on a grassroots, national, and global level, WILD ensures that their efforts aren’t just addressing one portion of the problem – and that their results are impactful and long-lasting.
WILD knows that there are two types of conservation programs, both equally important to the health of our planet. The first type of program is on-the-ground teams taking physical actions to defend critically threatened species and spaces. This is done through reforestation efforts, pollution cleanups, habitat management, and more. These efforts are typically costly, and difficult to sustain over the long-term, which is why they need to be paired with another type of conservation… one that tackles the root of the issue. This focuses on political action, environmental education, and global coordination for a multi-faceted sustainability plan.
And it’s working! Through a WILD led coalition, they have saved 17.4 million square kilometers of protected lands from industrial extraction practices that can be devastating to natural habitats. They have also protected 8 million square acres in West Africa for one of the two remaining desert elephant herds to roam and live on. And that’s not all! For the last 40+ years, WILD has worked to create a variety of large-scale solutions for wilderness that targets the root causes of environmental destruction – like the Marine Wilderness Project, Wild Boulder (an initiative in our hometown!), the NAWPA Conservation project, and many more. You can read more about all of WILD’s projects locally, nationally, and globally here.
For now, we’re going to dive into one of our favorite initiatives of theirs: the World Wilderness Congress. This is the world’s longest-running public environmental forum that works to build awareness and support for wild spaces, while working to strengthen everything from the grassroots decision-making process to national policies. In many countries across the world the concept of “wilderness” doesn’t have a name, or a place in greater society. The World Wilderness Congress (WWC), founded by WILD founder Nthombela, works with leaders worldwide to change the way the world sees our planet. Some of their successes include: contributing to the foundation of the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility, dozens of new public and private protected spaces that cover millions of acres, and efforts to protect wilderness across national borders. They’ve worked with leaders like the 56th President of Mexico, the President of South Africa, Jane Gooddall, Tashka Yawanawa, Chief of the Yawanawa People, Sylvia Earle, and many more! Because the Congress is public, leaders from all walks of life have contributed and worked with the WWC, strengthening their ability to create multi-faceted problem solving that includes the needs of all.
How can I get involved with the WILD Foundation?
We love the WILD Foundation because they are doing so many amazing things, both in our hometown and across the globe. They’ve created meaningful change in a number of wild spaces… but that work requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and resources to enact. That’s why they need our help to make it all happen. By becoming a member, or donating directly to WILD, you can directly support their environmental initiatives.
To make it even easier to get involved with the WILD Foundation, we’ve teamed up with them and the Global Healing Collective to make a custom gift box filled with some of our favorite plastic-free, zero waste essentials – and 10% of the proceeds will go towards the WILD Foundation and their assorted causes. Because Boulder, Colorado is our hometown, we think it’s important that they can continue to build a strong network in the Front Range Mountains that works to respect and protect the diverse ecosystem we have. The donations from this curated box will allow WILD to build out an initiative to identify and train citizen scientists who will help document wildlife patterns. These citizen scientists will collaborate with regional land managers who are working to better understand how to protect critical habitats in the mountains and the valleys so that the creatures that live there can thrive – and create a healthier and more stable ecosystem as a whole. Plus, the box is chock full with tons of reusable products that are a great way to begin to reduce the amount of waste you create in your life, which directly impacts nearly all forms of wildlife. Be a conscious consumer, and support the WILD Foundation, when you get your box here!