Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Greener and greener - Emeralds and elephants

20 July, 2011 - 10:29 -- John Burton

I have just flown to India for the launch of a collection of Emerald jewellery, which will be auctioned later in the year for Elephant conservation

I know some of our supporters might question if it is right for a conservation charity to be associated with what Thorstein Vebelin famously christened 'conspicuous consumption'. However, I could also argue that most consumerism in the developed, rich world is pretty unnecessary. It's all a question of where you draw the line.

I would also argue that expensive jewellery and works of art are far less damaging to the environment as a whole, than many so-called environmentally friendly infra-structure projects (take high-speed rail for example). The emeralds concerned were supplied by Gemfields, a company that prides itself on its ethics, and the designers all made their creations for conservation.

An over-riding principle that the WLT always has in mind when working with the corporate world is that the businesses with which we are associated should always be striving towards being better than they were in the past, trying to be environmentally friendly and having the best practice in their sector. We live in a very imperfect world. The job of the WLT is to try and save some of what is left of its natural beauty for the future, and we have to use all the means at our disposal.

Ideally I would like to change the way we all think, but I don't think that is remotely achievable. I do think I and many like me can make a small difference if we concentrate on the art of the achievable. Buying nature reserves acre by acre is achievable,  and it is growing in momentum. Every time I see another organisation doing it I regard that as another success.

Do what you can, and most important of all DO SOMETHING.

Meanwhile, Gemfields is doing something: it is helping the World Land Trust and its partner, the Wildlife Trust of India raise both money and awareness of the plight of elephants, and not just in India, but also in Zambia, where their mine is located.

More information about Emeralds for Elephants

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