Restoring Our Nature - Conversation with Will McGoldrick

Amidst the stressful midterm season, we are fortunate to have Will McGoldrick, the Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy (T NC), to bring us a breath of fresh air through their unique stories behind nature restoration.

Will began the conversation by introducing how projects in TNC operate differently compared to most NGOs. By generating income after initial investments, TNC aims to deliver projects in a financially sustainable manner without any reliance on donations.

Recalling his early memories, Will mentioned that a taxi driver once questioned his reason for coming to Hong Kong. After answering conservation work, he was surprised that the driver told him to go home, as Hong Kong is a place all about money. Instead of developing doubts in himself, Will sees it as a clear indicator of the dire situation in Hong Kong and furthered his determination in conservancy work.

Environmental issues are often categorized in their separate domain as compared to social or economic issues, but TNC says otherwise. Aboriginal Australians have been known to cause disruptions to cities when forced to make a living in cities. The controlled burn project from TNC offers them a chance to utilize their knowledge in the fire to prevent large- scale wildfires in rural areas. In return, the carbon credits generated from the reduced fire could be sold to support their livelihood, allowing them to stay within their homeland.

Despite a rather niche topic, our fellows have sparked thought-provoking dialogues, ranging from COVID's implications on nature conservation to shrimp farms and disappearing mangroves in Indonesia. We all have learnt a precious lesson on the potential outreach and impact of environmental projects. While these pioneering projects might not always succeed, I believe that we shall still take a step forward to bet on the possibilities of positive impact to the world - just as the core of Melo.

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