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Prior to arriving at East Dongting Lake, the only finless porpoises I expected to see were like the one in the first photo below, from the nature reserve’s museum.
The species has become endangered from ongoing habitat destruction, food shortage, and a high frequency of accidental deaths from run-ins with fishers. At East Dongting, the porpoise – China’s last freshwater cetacean after the probable extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin – suffers from destructive fishing involving gill nets and electric shocks, as well as from mining, dams, and human development.
When I first reviewed the standard Pride methodology a few years ago, I wondered why we reserved a full month for community surveys. At the time, I imagined Pride surveys were no different from the quick surveys distributed in American shopping malls, e.g. “Can you identify the US on a world map? No? OK thank you - here is your gift card for free guacamole at Chipotle.” I learned in my time in Arlington that Rare’s surveying method is much more detailed. Results must be used to break down the target audience into segments, and to precisely define each audience segment’s current knowledge of, feelings toward, and behavior regarding a particular environmental threat. Survey questionnaires go through many rounds of edits to ensure that questions are precise, relevant, and do not overlap. Sample sizes must be accurately calculated and control groups must be carefully selected. The process is truly scientific.
A documentary entitled "Rare Pride," about Hunchun Campaign Manager Lang Jianmin, is currently featured on the Web site of the Washington, DC Environmental Film Festival: http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org/forum/green_short_films/67. If you haven't seen the video, it's a great chance to learn more about the power of building community pride in conservation.
I recently watched this interesting TED talk by Rory Sutherland, an executive at Ogilvy, on the power of perception vs. intrinsic value, and the use of creative social pressures vs. the use of authority. I think this could be really useful when we design our campaigns' strategies, especially those that involve a combination of social marketing and law enforcement.
Bear Grylls, aventurero, autor, y la estrella de televisión de "A prueba de todo", está entusiasmado con el trabajo que Rare está haciendo en todo el mundo. Recientemente sacó tiempo de su apretada agenda para grabar un mensaje especial para todos los coordinadores de campaña, del pasado y del presente.