Poking around last night, I came across a conference I hadn’t heard of before (or if I did, it passed through my sieve of a brain at some point). It’s the British Natural History Consortium’s Communicate 09 conference, taking place October 21-22 in Bristol, England. Apparently this is an annual conference for environmental and conservation communications professionals.
Communicate is a conference for influential environmental communicators, attracting a cross-section of representatives from environmental and conservation organisations, business and CSR, policy makers, media, national and local government bodies and natural history filmmakers.
This year’s conference, titled “Valuing the Invaluable,” will focus on biodiversity. The first sentence in the conference brochure reads “Biodiversity is so valuable, it’s priceless. But how do we convince people it’s not a luxury but a necessity?” I understand the desire to reach people on terms they can understand (materialism), but I cringe at yet another reductionistic and economistic metaphor that in my view only serves to reinforce the problem. The unfortunate logo also reinforces the hegemonic view o the earth is nothing more than a “valuable resource.”
OK, look, I don’t have any reason to criticize this conference. I just don’t think much of how it’s being presented.
Note, there is also a “toolkit” of case studies, articles, presentations, etc. based on previous conferences available, though 2008 seems to be missing.
Have any of you been to previous conferences? What did you think?