The team at Net-Works’ partner, ZSL, are dedicated to the natural world and conservation. But they don’t want to keep all their amazing knowledge and experience to themselves: they want to share it with anyone and everyone. This is exactly what they’ve been doing with United for Wildlife: creating an award-winning online learning platform, which offers free courses to people around the world.
Some of you may have already discovered this valuable resource. In which case, you will have heard Farinoz Daneshpay talk about Net-Works. In “Conservation Innovation”, Farinoz explains how Net-Works is an inclusive business, which empowers people in coastal communities in the developing world to collect and sell discarded nylon fishing nets, thereby removing these nets from the ocean where they wreak havoc with marine life. The nets are then sold into a global supply chain and recycled into yarn to make carpet tile. In this way, the lesson shows how environmental protection, livelihoods support and sustainable business can go together.
Following this introductory course, ZSL, in partnership with United for Wildlife, has developed a brand new set of lessons, which are available now. They have brought experts in their fields together to explore “Ocean optimism”. Lesson 1 starts off by looking at why it’s important to preserve the marine environment, focusing on different marine habitats such as the coral reefs, mangroves, as well as the open ocean, and the specific challenges to conservation of marine megafauna.
Lesson 2 gives an overview of the impacts of human activities on the marine environment and highlights the importance of international coordinated approaches and sustainable fisheries management to tackling marine threats. Net-Works is upheld as an example of how to deal with inadequate waste disposal systems found in many coastal communities.
The course ends by focusing on solutions, and uses the Net-Works story to demonstrate the power of collaboration and innovation to solve big problems like marine waste. This section also covers the importance of consumer choice and the role of awareness campaigns in marine conservation.
The purpose of the ZSL-led United for Wildlife online course is to enable people to find out more about the natural world, from the basic concepts of conservation, to examples of projects worldwide. They also tell you how you can get involved. The course provides entry-level conservation education for people in countries with limited access to this information. It also brings together brilliant and keen minds from across the globe.
You don’t need any pre-existing knowledge to take part, just enthusiasm. The short courses can be taken at your own pace and in any order (but we suggest starting with “Introducing conservation”). You can stop any time, start again, or go back to your favourite video to see if you’ve missed anything.
The platform provides extra information to delve deeper into online resources, from TED Talks to scientific papers to complement what you’re learning. All courses come with short learning checks, so make sure you pay attention!
Join ZSL at https://learn.unitedforwildlife.org to take these incredible free courses and discover more about the planet we are all a part of.
- Title image: Blue planet - Debra James/Shutterstock.com