Environmental Time Machine

Can you imagine what the world is going to look like in fifty years? Will there still be the same animals in the land, water, and air, will they be different, or will there be any left at all? Think about this, with all that the human race does to pollute the environment, will there be anything left on Earth that is truly beautiful? Looking into many different Non-Governmental Organizations, we see many individuals seeking to change this possibility of our future from happening. TRAFFIC is an organization that I began to research that is really taking initiative to change the human race into becoming a more eco-friendly society.

In 1976, John Burton created what we today call TRAFFIC International. Their current main office is in United Kingdom although they work all over the globe. There are nine different subdivisions working under TRAFFIC International, which include regions in Central Africa, East Asia, East/south Africa, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America, South Asian and Southeast Asia. . TRAFFIC’s mission statement is, “…to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.” This organization specifically targets the illegal wildlife trade and is currently the world’s leader in this field of conservation. Since 1976, TRAFFIC has developed into a transnational network that is always changing in order to keep up with today’s technology.

TRAFFIC’s vision is very similar to what we created in class on Monday, however targeting to one specific section; environmentalism. On their website, TRAFFIC’s vision is, “…of a world in which trade in wild plants and animals is managed at sustainable levels without damaging the integrity of ecological systems and in such a manner that it makes a significant contribution to human needs, supports local and national economies and helps to motivate commitments to the conservation of wild species and their habitats.” Thus, TRAFFIC is a movement looking to help the environment while bettering the ‘human needs’.

As previously stated, TRAFFIC International is the leader of all ten TRAFFIC sections. When looking for a specific name to what this organization is, they call themselves a ‘limited company’ and/ or a charity. TRAFFIC has four categories that they work within, which include, strategic direction and leadership, network operations management, programme development, and programme delivery. All four of these specifically like the organization with other WWF and IUCN along with other environmentalist organizations.

Some activities that TRAFFIC directly correlates with include the following: inputting their environmental aspects into the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization and the convention of biological diversity. They also push campaigns dealing with wildlife trade, timber rand fisheries. They are currently working on creating networks to inform people on wildlife trade and to explain that it is in fact an illegal act that people are committing. They also work alongside most of the countries agencies, however as we all know, there are always bad politics so the illegal wildlife trade continues.

Today, TRAFFIC is governed by the TRAFFIC committee, which also governs two partner organizations (World Wild Life [WWF] and International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]). This committee consists for ten members, half from WWF and the others from IUCN. The TRAFFIC committee is the centralization of all three organizations, and helps to prioritize wildlife trade activities. Besides the World Wild Life and The International Union for Conservation of Nature, TRAFFIC works closely with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (also known as CITES). Other than the one committee, TRAFFIC also staffs an additional one hundred people.

To clear up a few questions, I would like to describe what wildlife trade is, in terms of the TRAFFIC organization. According to their website, this trade is, “ Any sale or exchange of wild animal or plant resources by people…” This trade can include alive animals/ plants or can be ‘token items’ that many humans are passionate for. Some of these prize possessions include animal skins, medical ingredients, ‘endangered’ yet ‘rich-worth’ foods, etc. Although most wildlife trade occurs within national borders, we are now beginning to see a shift to international trade because of all the technology the human race now has. Most traders that are involved in this industry are in it strictly for the money, which can range from a small business for tourists, or a large, major profit business. Some of these large businesses include logging companies and marine fisheries, specifically on the coasts of warm water areas.

Although there are many reasons to why people illegal act in this fashion, I would like to briefly discuss what I would like to call the three f’s: food, fuel and fodder. Everyone needs to consume food, so many who are in rural areas commit the crime as a necessity of fighting off hunger. On the TRAFFIC website, it states that in more than sixty countries, wild animals contribute to one fifty of their protein. I think that living in the United States we often forget that ninety percent of the world is fighting everyday for food; they do not have a McDonalds or a local grocery store with fresh meat readily avalible. TRAFFIC also has statistics on their website stating that areas in Africa that are the poorest, suffer from the greatest amount of illegal wildlife trade. The second F is fuel. Plants and trees both produce fuel for daily routines such as heating and cooking. We as Americans often look past this because we usually pay an electric company to take care of our heat etc. The final F is fodder. Fodder is a food that is used to feed cattle and other livestock that looks similar to hay. When farmers do not have hay to feed their animals they illegally take fodder to feed their livestock which cause a shortage in it in places such as Asia and Africa.

Looking at all of these ideas, I think that TRAFFIC is doing a great job at spreading awareness across the globe on what wildlife hunting is, and why it needs to cease. I think that the organization does a good job at tying numerous nations together and helps create a sense of unity amongst them.

Thanks guys!- Sara

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One Response to Environmental Time Machine

  1. ayatnieves says:

    I like your approach to plants and animals as a viable fuel source, and not in this neo traditional sense, in which everything is a engine of industry. At times people forget we are organic beings, and we require contact with nature, despite our reluctance to admit it.

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