The World Wildlife Fund has evolved over time in terms of its chief objectives. Importantly, it was one an organization that sought to protect individuals species from extinction, doing pure conservation work. It focused on high-profile animal species, such as tigers, that had been targeted or otherwise threatened in the wild. Things have changed to some extent for the WWF. Today, it seeks to deal with the larger forces that are threatening the sanctity of the planet, and thus threatening humans and animals alike. The organization recognizes that there are larger forces acting upon all creatures, especially in regard to the man-made causes of change. Many habitats have been affected over the years, including the freshwater and saltwater bodies and the forests. The WWF puts people at the center of this, recognizing the duty of human beings to manage forests, bodies of water, wildlife, food, and the climate. All of these layers are interrelated, and the broad objective of the WWF is to provide ample support in seeking to alleviate the problems and difficulties that afflict those different environmental concerns. From this, the organization looks to more specific problems, such as poaching, deforestation, man-made climate change, and issues of consumption that have made it difficult to maintain the existing structure. It has moved beyond simply caring for specific animal species because of the organizationÆs relatively new understanding that there is significant interrelatedness between the different elements of society and the environment.
The methods used by the WWF to work on the problems it has identified are many. Are importantly, the WWF has developed a two-track strategy for dealing with various problems. For instance, in the organizationÆs work on climate problems, it has worked at the national and international level to lobby governments to be more aggressive both in their ideation about how to fix the problem and in their adherence to the agreements that have been signed. Critically, the WWF has worked quite hard to pressure countries on the issue of the Paris Agreement. It has put pressure on the inside of countries, as well as pressure on the intergovernmental organizations that put together these agreements. On top of that, WWF develops and executes research that allows for better understanding of the problems. These methods are true not only for climate, but also for other problems, including wildlife conservation and policy on water. The approach is not entirely about pressure at the government level and broad research. WWF also provides solutions on the ground for people to get involved. It partners with a range of different local organizations that have shown the ability to provide assistance on an issue, as well as developing various individual strategies that people can utilize in order to more effectively deal with the problems within their own communities.
WWF has long preferred going with peaceful repertoires of action in order to bring about broad change that can be sustainable over the long run. Importantly, the organization has been much less interested in the kind of on-the-ground guerilla tactics used by organizations like Greenpeace, which have at times engaged on the high seas with fishing vessels and whalers. Instead, WWF has worked to develop communications plans, lobbying strategies, research initiatives, and successful public-private campaigns to bring into the fold more people. WWF believes that there is backing for these kinds of initiatives in the public eye. Specifically, there is a belief that the majority of people are interested in saving the planet and preventing its further degradation. These shared values, WWF believes, make it possible for the organization to be effective in its lobbying and research efforts, requiring less direct action.
- Daut, Elizabeth F., Donald J. Brightsmith, and Markus J. Peterson. “Role of non-governmental organizations in combating illegal wildlifeûpet trade in Peru.”áJournal for Nature Conservationá24 (2015): 72-82.
- Finger, Matthias, and Thomas Princen.áEnvironmental NGOs in world politics: Linking the local and the global. Routledge, 2013.
- Weinstein, Netta, et al. “Conserving nature out of fear or knowledge? Using threatening versus connecting messages to generate support for environmental causes.”áJournal for Nature Conservationá26 (2015): 49-55.