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Time with Carter Roberts, the President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

I had an opportunity to hear Carter Roberts speak the other day. What a great speaker he was and he had some seriously interesting things to say!

Personally, in the past, I have been a big supporter of wildlife. It’s where I tend to do my charitable donating. Up ’till now, my preference has been with The Nature Conservancy. But after hearing Carter Roberts speak, I think that I am going to split my charitable giving between the two.

One of the things that I have liked about The Nature Conservancy is that they don’t “mess around”. They see something that they want to protect and they go out and buy it. One of the things that Carter Roberts talked about that got my attention was the angle that they were taking.

Instead of buying land and protecting it. Instead of spending money on lobbying. The World Wildlife Fund is working with global companies to try to change the way they use/buy/sell products. Hoping that if they change the way Wal-Mart does something, it will not only force other retailers to follow suit, but change the public mentality as well. Kind of like “wagging the dog”. One example Carter gave was how Wal-Mart is now selling sustainably raised/harvested fish. This is huge with the over-fishing of the seas and Wal-Mart being one of the largest sellers of fish in the world!

And the WWF also has a cool new holiday catalog where you can adopt or sponsor anything from a fox to a research vessel. And what I am proud of is that when Carter was talking about the new holiday store, I asked, “Can I use credit card points/miles to buy things?” You should have seen the PR guy next to him start scribbling things down. Even if you only got pennies on the dollar for your “miles”, I would gladly buy stuff/donate them to the WWF, and American Express would be very happy because that would take tons, and I mean tons, of miles “off the market”! So when you can use “points” to buy/donate at/to the WWF, remember where the idea came from :-)….

The other thing I asked for was a program kind of like EarthWatch, where it’s an educational vacation. But I want a bit more than that…. I don’t want to commit 3 years to the Peace Corps, but I’d gladly give the WWF 6 months somewhere. We’d both get something out of it. I’d pay my way, and they would provide me with basic needs, etc. (adequate and making sure I’m OK, but it’s not the Four Seasons…) and get to go someplace cool with an opportunity to be in another part of the world (potential travel, experiences, etc.)… and in return, they would get to “abuse” me and use my skill-set, if not for my entrepreneurial skills then for my strong back :-)! Sounds like fun, huh?!?