Startup for Nature: showcasing innovation in conservation

I’m excited to announce the launch of my latest pet-project, Startup for Nature, a website aimed at promoting entrepreneurial approaches to conserving nature.

Startup_full logo

Regular readers know that I believe we need more entrepreneurship in conservation. That’s why I set up a website devoted to answering some common questions about conservation entrepreneurship and showcasing some of the most innovative conservation startups.

Furthermore, Startup for Nature also features in the poster I’ll be presenting at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Montpellier during August.

If Startup for Nature encourages just one aspiring entrepreneur to launch their own conservation venture, then I’ll consider it successful. But to do this, it must first reach the right audience with the most engaging content.

Here’s the part where I ask for your help.

You can help Startup for Nature create a sub-culture of entrepreneurship amongst conservationists. Here’s how:

  • Click through to Startup for Nature. Browse around and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more (or less) of.
  • If you like what you see, please share it with everyone in your social network (using the sharing buttons on the website). By reaching a broader audience, we increase the chances of finding that one inspired person who might launch the next big conservation venture.
  • If you know of anyone who has launched their own conservation venture, or you have launched one yourself, please let me know so that I can add it to the site. Celebrating the most innovation startups will hopefully increase the uptake of entrepreneurship in conservation.
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The startup culture of conservation entrepreneurship

I’ve written about the need for self-started conservation initiatives on this blog before. And now I am pleased to boast that some of these ideas have just been published online in Conservation Biology. (If you don’t have subscription access through the publisher’s website, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll forward the article to you as a PDF).

It’s a short opinion piece that is mainly intended to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship to an audience of conservation scientists. The article should definitely not be considered as a how-to guide to conservation entrepreneurship, nor is it a comprehensive review of all the ways entrepreneurship can help to protect biodiversity. Instead, I hoped to convey three key points:

(1) there are conservation problems that are especially amenable to small, fast bootstrapped solutions;

(2) there are new ways of funding conservation initiatives that weren’t available 10 years ago; and

(3) most early-career conservation biologists in the current employment landscape will, at some point, be unemployed, so self-started conservation initiatives could become a necessity.

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Passion is not enough to reverse the biodiversity crisis

If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to assume that you love nature. Your passion for all creatures great and small might even have pushed you to pursue a career in ecology or conservation biology. But is passion enough?

I don’t think so, and here’s why.

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Creative capital for conservation

Picture 241v4(Please excuse the lame use of Photoshop)

We live in exciting times. Never before has any individual had as much potential to influence the rest of civilisation as we do now. Around the globe, from New Zealand to Peru, millions of people are connected to one another. We innovate, create and share our lives with the world. Technology has flattened the earth and possibly ensured that the only thing separating us from the next global revolution is a girl in rural Bangladesh with a big idea and a fast internet connection.

At the same time, however, we are facing natural crises unlike anything we have seen before. Every day more and more natural habitat is being transformed and species, some yet to be discovered, are going extinct faster than we can imagine. How is this possible? How can a period of terrible destruction overlap with one of endless potential? What is causing this paradox and how can we fix it? Continue reading

Is it time to turn your back on the herd? My personal dream in conservation and how the Solitary Ecologist got its name.

Picture 205A comment on my post about getting your dream job in conservation pointed out the importance of sharing your dreams and ambitions with like-minded people. I found this simple suggestion incredibly profound. In addition to this, since this blog has been active, I have been asked about its name – The Solitary Ecologist – by multiple people. It turns out that the name of the site is linked to my career dream and this post will explain how. Continue reading

How to find your dream job in conservation

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For those of you drawn here by the promise of sound advice on how to land your dream job in conservation, here it is: lower your expectations.

Before I explain this somewhat cynical answer, I must disclose that I am not a career counsellor, nor do I have much personal experience in finding my dream job (I’m still a student). Nevertheless, I do believe that we can all have a fulfilling career and heaps of job satisfaction (eventually) but we, as early career conservation professionals, must acknowledge that we probably won’t get our perfect job immediately. We will have to go out there, build a career and cultivate our own perfect working environment. Continue reading