Profile: Conservation International
What do leatherback turtles, burning forests and Harrison Ford all have in common?
They’re the key components of some very successful marketing campaigns launched by Conservation International, a nonprofit organization missioned to protect the richest regions of plant and animal diversity in 34 international biodiversity hot spots, wilderness areas and marine ecosystems.
With headquarters in Arlington, Va., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. Last year, it distributed more than $30 million in funding to its partners to implement conservation activities. And over the past six years, it has provided more than $97 million to fund more than 1,200 nongovernmental groups, as well as small businesses that employ nearly 15,000 local people.
Lost there, felt here
To raise awareness about the effect of deforestation on global warming, the organization recently launched its “Lost There, Felt Here” campaign.
“What people might not know is that the burning and flashing of forests for crop land and things like that actually contributes 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which greatly affect climate change,” says Vinnie Wishrad, senior director of community and membership at CI. “If we can do something about that, we can curb a big component of climate change.”
The campaign centers around giving people the option to donate $15 to “protect an acre” of forestland to stop climate change. They also can donate more acres in $15 increments. According to CI, the donations support scientists and project teams in tropical forest areas around the world where deforestation is most prevalent, such as Madagascar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Colombia.
To donate, people can go to CI’s Web site — www.conservation.org — click on the “Lost There, Felt Here” icon featuring an image of campaign spokesman Harrison Ford and then click on a highlighted square box in the center of a grid with a forest backdrop. The box takes visitors to a landing page that enables them to donate online with a credit card. Visitors also can mouse-over the square-acre boxes to see their names and the number of acres they’ve given.