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Grasshoppers, Corals and Global Crisis. Full interview with Simon Stuart.

Episode description

When you read the evermore worrying news about species extinction, climate change and rising sea levels, do you ever wonder how much you can believe?

In our busy and frenetic lives we often don’t know what to believe, or how serious some of this news might be. That’s why I wanted to speak to someone who knows a thing or two about species conservation. Well, not just a few things, actually, much more than that. I wanted to hear it from someone who lives and breathes conservation.

So, imagine what a delight it was when Simon Stuart, who effectively had the job of leading species conservation globally for eight years, agreed to join us for an interview. 

These days, Simon is the Director of Strategic Conservation at an organisation called Synchronicity Earth which is really quite innovative – you can find out why at their website synchronicityearth.org

He’s also very, very much involved in the IUCN, which is probably one of the biggest organisations out there you may not have heard of. IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It’s been around since 1948, has 1,300 member organisations including governments, NGOs, indigenous people’s organisations, scientific institutions and business associations. It also has 13,000 experts who provide input (more details in the full episode). And that input then turns into information, research programmes and sets the agenda for congresses that take place every 4 years. Now, at this congress there’s a members’ assembly and here decisions made by the members that make a big difference to conservation and sustainability globally.

Now, why was it especially interesting to speak with Simon? Well, he was chair of what’s called the Species Survival Commission. That’s especially interesting because this is the institution that is responsible for the Red List of Threatened Species, a database of 93,000 species (and growing) that tracks their vulnerability status.

So, Simon is one of the people in this world who can tell us the most, and he did tell us a lot, about:

  • What is the reality of species conservation globally – how is it organized, what works, what we need to do better?
  • What can the story of a humble species of grasshopper in France teach us about how to do conservation better?
  • The threats that we do have solutions for and the threats that we don’t have solutions for. Like, what can we do about the fact that all corals look on course to die out over the next hundred years?
  • Why is it that species conservation is still seen as an act of charity rather than a necessity?
  • What has the existence of the Red List achieved? 

And what a fascinating interview it turned out to be. Enjoy this very special episode and treat it as a reference point to the rest of the other5billion podcast series. What we discussed with Simon applies to every single species on the planet and that includes our own.

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