Efforts to maintain protected areas and safeguard wildlife can at times feel futile given the persistent onslaught of encroachment, poaching and extractive activities. At the extremes, top-down conservation approaches may tend toward militarization, while bottom-up conservation can seem to lack the scale needed to have meaningful impact. But at the root of many conservation challenges, big and small, is the need to change behavior, whether it’s throwing plastic in the ocean, consuming products that drive deforestation, or fishing unsustainably. Rare, a conservation group that got its start as an outreach campaign to persuade people on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to save an endangered parrot in the 1970s, puts behavior change at the center of its work. Rare combines design thinking and social marketing to drive conservation outcomes. “Rare is decidedly different from other conservation organizations: We are highly focused on one thing — inspiring behavior change so people and nature thrive,” Rare president and CEO Brett Jenks told Mongabay. “So, while we might be working on fisheries or agriculture or climate change, our approach is behavior-based — appealing to people’s emotions, shifting social norms, or redesigning the environment in which people make decisions to make the green choice the easy or default choice.” Jenks got his start working as a journalist and then in film production, before becoming an ecotourism entrepreneur in Costa Rica. It was in Costa Rica in his mid-20s when he was first introduced to conservation. “I never studied conservation,” he said. “I didn’t even…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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