Sir David Attenborough, celebrating the 20th anniversary of World Land Trust (WLT) in 2009, highlighted four main reasons why he has been a dedicated supporter of our work for over two decades
"When, today, I'm asked why I support the World Land Trust I say that it can be summed up by 'four reasons'. They are short and to the point which is what I like about the WLT:
"First, they have low overheads:
By keeping their administration to a bare minimum, mainly by only employing a few staff, it means that donations aren't wasted in this country. Of course they need to have a staff, but it is small in number. WLT staff don't spend time on bureaucracy: their aim is to raise funds and send most of it to their overseas project partners.
"Secondly, because WLT manages to keep its overheads low, it means that most of your donation reaches the people it was intended for.
For instance, they don't spend their time writing reports and carrying out research - they let the local project partners do that. So funds raised by WLT go out to the partners, mainly for land purchase, but also to enable them carry out their own research that is needed in their own country.
"Thirdly, WLT does not own the land:
WLT raises funds to buy land but ownership is with the local organisation. It is vitally important that all land that is saved belongs to the people of that country as it they who take on the responsibility of its protection. Of course WLT will help them with the management of the land, and, indeed on any other matters that they request, but it is the overseas partners that own it.
"Lastly, saving land:
Fifty years ago, in the conservation movement's early days, there was a great emphasis on individual endangered species - Giant Pandas, Oryx, particular species of birds. We eventually realised, however, that the important unit was not a particular species but a whole ecosystem.
"Indeed, in the long run, you will not save those endangered species unless you save the whole ecosystem. To save an ecosystem you need to save the land. That is what WLT's project partner NGOs do. By protecting whole ecosystems, they not only protect the mammals that everyone knows, but protect the smallest insects and plants, many of which haven't even been discovered.
"The Trust has been hugely successful over the past 20 years and we are all here today to celebrate the success. Of course there is still much left to be done but I am sure that the World Land Trust will go on to raise more funds and save more wildlife and their habitats in the years to come."
(A talk by Sir David Attenborough on Celebrating 20 Years of WLT in the South-west at Bristol Zoo on 16 April 2009)
More Attenborough quotes
- Why I support World Land Trust
- The Cost of Life on Earth
- Rainforest at Chelsea Flower Show
- Conservation network breeds success
- Wildlife webcams: rainforest life online
- Discovering species new to science
- Climate change and habitat loss
- Extinction rates and halting destruction
- Carbon Balanced: offset your emissions
- Attenborough’s history with WLT