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Uploaded:2019-03-21
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This week on Nature League, Brit discusses what a Nature League actually is and how to create a happy and healthy relationship with topics in the Anthropocene.

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Nature League is a weekly edutainment channel that explores life on Earth and asks questions that inspire us to marvel at all things wild. Join host Brit Garner each week to learn about, connect to, and love the amazing living systems on Earth and the mechanics that drive them.
We started Nature League in March of 2018 to explore the amazingness of life on Earth.

A year before that, I had the pleasure of joining the Complexly family as a co-host on SciShow Psych. However, my educational and experiential background is something totally different, and that's what I was approached to explore in creating Nature League. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC].

When we began discussing a channel about life on Earth, I had a few things in mind stemming from my graduate work in international biodiversity conservation. First off, I'd been thinking about what a good Anthropocene looks like. In an era dominated by the presence and influence of humans on the Earth, how can the relationships between species be healthy and happy?

And speaking of humans, where do we fit into the concept of “nature”? Are humans a part of nature? Or is nature defined by a place where humans aren't?

More importantly, how do we include respect and responsibility in the conversations and considerations of our role in the natural world? These are all themes and questions that I struggle with every day, and one of my goals with this channel is to think them through with all of you. Most of these topics wind up being values all the way down, and the way we prioritize life on Earth has to do with our values more than anything...values that can change person to person.

My graduate work so far has made me realize that international wildlife conservation has to be collaborative, and sometimes science isn't the best way to solve every problem. Two years ago in a wildlife biology course, we were asked to create our ideal conservation team -- there were no requirements, and the assignment was completely open-ended. I came up with the following dream team.

Government liaison: in a lot of places on Earth, species are at the mercy of human government policies and regulations. A government liaison between conservation organizations and the host country is a critical step in ensuring that ruling and legislative bodies incorporate science and data into their decision-making processes. Project manager: organization goes a long way, and with conservation and wildlife biology there are so many moving pieces that it becomes impossible without some kind of project management that organizes goals, priorities, and strategy.

Media/outreach: what good is information if you can't share it?! I love the idea of engaging with both professionals and the general public when it comes to these topics. Want to see real change happen?

Reach out to kids! Get people interested! Listen to those who have something at stake, and provide them with what they need to make the best possible decisions.

Plus, without a media/outreach specialist, I wouldn't be doing my part for Millennial job security... Data scientist: work smart, not hard! Part of my graduate work is focused on the incorporation of data analytics into global conservation, and I've learned about some incredible ways that data and computing can be applied to life on Earth.

Any good task force would be beyond fortunate to have a solid data scientist on hand. Fearless leader: at the time, I'm pretty sure I added this just so I could include myself as King Arthur in the round table schematic I put together...so let's just say this falls under project manager. Wildlife Biologist: an international wildlife conservation team would probably be remiss to not include an actual wildlife biologist.

While data and science aren't always the best tool for every problem, they should still be included as much as possible both in the field and in the room where policy is being made. Ecologist: while having a wildlife biologist at the table is a pretty obvious pick, I think ecologists can sometimes be even more useful. While wildlife biologists can provide expertise about, well, wildlife, ecologists consider the entire system that wildlife species interact within.

This includes both living and non-living pieces of the system. Economist: Like it or not, most human decisions come down to money. At the very least, money and financial security plays a role in determining priorities and values, so when it comes to making choices about conservation goals, it's absolutely crucial to include economics.

Psychologist: The core of strategies for effective conservation should include a consideration and understanding of the local human needs, objections, and priorities. Social science is so important when it comes to actually affecting change. My dream team has changed a bit over the last two years, but I'd only make small changes...for example, disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and indigenous peoples' representation would be a huge asset, and would replace my original psychologist member.

But really, this team is pretty close -- it includes a mixture of science and strategy, and emphasizes the human dimension that's weaved throughout wildlife conservation. Since starting Nature League as a channel, I've asked myself what a “nature league” actually means in practice, and I think it's something like this assignment from two years ago. It's an entity that recognizes the importance of all disciplines in solving problems in the Anthropocene; approaches problems with nuance and complication instead of black and white lines and definitions; constantly questions what we think we know about the natural world instead of doubling down on previous knowledge; and strives to critically examine the relationship of human and non-human species on Earth in an attempt to make life a little better for as many as possible.

And I think I fit into this by sharing information about life on Earth in a way that adheres to these principles. I'm both excited and humbled by serving as an educator on this topic, and here's why: we only take care of what we love, and we only love what we know. And, we only know something if we're exposed to it and learn about it- and that's what.

I hope to achieve by sharing knowledge here. So when I think about a Nature League, I'm really thinking about a group of humans that believe in these guiding principles and are willing to share their expertise to solve problems, regardless of what they know or study -- and this includes all of you. So if this sounds good to you, join the Nature League by thinking and feeling critically about life on Earth and learning with us here on the channel.

And you can do so by making sure to subscribe, share these videos with your friends, and keep asking us questions about life on Earth in the comments section and on social media. Life on Earth is definitely my thing, but it doesn't have to be everyone's thing- as long as we, as a Nature League, ask ourselves to actively, critically, and charitably think and feel about life on Earth, I think we're off to a great start. Hey guys!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Nature League, we made these really cool pins, and they're for sale on DFTBA.com. So if you'd like your own and want to be a part of the Nature League, check out the link in the description. Thanks so much for supporting us!