Letter From The President, January 2019

WellBeing International (WBI) was founded on the basis that improving the long-term well-being of people should, with suitable foresight and wisdom, also involve improving the well-being of animals and the environment, and vice-versa. We believe there are ways to improve the well-being of all three elements of the PAE (people, animals and the environment) triad by paying more attention to all three elements and focusing on the intersections when looking at strategies to achieve well-being goals. Typically, most well-being (happiness) projects focus mainly on anthropocentric outcomes and impacts. However, we will include animals and the environment as equal partners in order to maximize the well-being of all life both locally and globally. The old aphorism that all politics is local applies to well-being as well: developing appropriate solutions for local communities will provide examples and models that can be taken to scale to affect global well-being.  READ MORE

We are particularly interested in seeking out projects and potential partners that enhance the well-being of at least two of the three elements of the people-animals-environment (PAE) triad. For example, consider the following:
• There is a growing body of literature pointing to the importance of the presence of “nature” in the environment to maintain and improve the health of people.
• Establishing marine “parks” has been shown to benefit marine ecosystems AND improve fisheries in the ocean areas bordering these parks.
• Surveys indicate that a majority of people across the globe want animals who are raised for food to be treated humanely and to be given more space than modern intensive animal production systems currently provide.
• More than three-quarters of the antibiotics produced every year are fed to animals to promote their growth and to reduce their incidence of infectious diseases with frightening implications for the future effectiveness of these antibiotics to fight human disease.
• Only 4% of global mammalian terrestrial biomass today belongs to wild mammals. The rest consists of humans (31%) and domestic animals, mainly livestock (65%). Is it any surprise that populations of charismatic megafauna like tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes are declining rapidly?
We are excited by the opportunities provided by developing partnerships with other organizations across the world. The number of local civil society organizations is exploding globally, and they bring tremendous resources (especially local knowledge and energy) to their work. But there is often a lack of collaboration and communication that hampers the delivery of greater ‘impact for investment.’ For instance, our colleague, Dr. Gary Tabor of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation notes in his 2018 President’s Report that, “in general, landscape conservation efforts have one thing in common – they do not talk to each other.” Even when organizations in the same NGO sector talk to each other, they mostly do not integrate their programs and projects to maximize efficiency and impact.
WBI plans to launch its own hands-on projects but also will emphasize communication and partnership development to address the challenge of effective partnering. WBI also plans to emphasize the need for data collection and analysis to demonstrate the impact of its own and its partners’ projects. We invite you to join us on what should prove to be an exciting and rewarding journey! Please sign up for this newsletter on our website.

Andrew N. Rowan, President, WellBeing International