Bethan John, founder & director
I’m an environmental journalist that unites conservationists and creatives – writers, photographers, filmmakers – to create compelling stories that focus on the solutions to environmental problems.
My mission is to inspire action for our natural world by crafting messages that resonate with the audience and inspire action, while also providing communications training for conservationists.
Why did I set-up Wildlands Creative? I’ve seen first-hand how conservation projects can protect rich, thriving ecosystems while empowering poor and marginalised people. I want to get these stories from the field and into the world.
Now, here’s a little bit about where my passion comes from…
After finishing a postgraduate degree in journalism at Cardiff University, I migrated to the east coast to work as Editor and Writer for the international conservation charity the World Land Trust.
By working alongside a team who are dedicated to saving as much of natural world as possible, I became passionate about the mission of the World Land Trust and began to fully realise how the destruction of our natural world is impacting poor communities across the planet.
I was lucky enough to interview inspiring conservationists – from TV personalities like Bill Oddie and Mark Carwardine, to the people working on-the-ground to protect threatened wildlife in some of the most challenging corners of the planet. These meetings gave me an in-depth insight into the issues surrounding biodiversity conservation and a hunger to find out more.
In October 2012, I left my full-time job at the World Land Trust to go on an adventure to the wildlands of Latin America and provide communications support to the charity’s network of partners.
For years I had written about how these local conservation organisations had saved thousands of acres of threatened forests, I had described the species new to science that they regularly discovered, and detailed how they have empowered some of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised people. It was now time to understand the challenges and solutions from on-the-ground.
A journey to the wildlands
On this adventure, I came face-to-face with some of the most awe-inspiring animals on this planet, while meeting and interviewing people whose lives are being irreversibly affected by environmental destruction.
One incredible memory was standing in the Chocó Rainforest of Colombia and holding the tiny golden poison frog – an Endangered species capable of killing 10 people – in the palm of my hand.
Another, was meeting the Shuar indigenous people of southern Ecuador; they were made famous in adventure literature because of Western fascination with their former practice of shrinking human heads. Today, they are mourning the erosion of their nature and culture because of a road being built through their forest.
A lot of people talk about safeguarding the natural world for the next generation. Through my journey across Latin America, I’ve realised that we have to protect it for the people living on this planet today – we have to save it now. That’s how devastating the destruction is, that’s how catastrophic an impact it has on the lives’ of poor communities. If we care about these people, living today, we don’t have the luxury of time.
Luckily, I have met inspirational people who have taken action to create social and environmental change within their communities. They are normal people – like you and me – who have often stood alone, with little support or funding, in the face of corruption. But they are succeeding.
So often these are untold stories. Many conservation organisations are desperately underfunded; they don’t have the time or capacity to share their stories and inspire action.
This is why I’m now dedicated to getting their stories heard. I set-up Wildlands Creative to unite conservationists and creatives so that we can better understand the challenges and solutions to environmental problems, allowing us to tell powerful stories that inspire action for our natural world.
Through the Wildlands Creative project, I want to leave you with one message: Get involved. Show your support. Inspire others. And most importantly, please, act now.