Community Is Good For The Planet

Nature’s Regulating Ecological Services

Amy Lewis, Vice President of Policy & Communications

This is the fourth part of a four-part series dedicated to the different categories of ecological services portrayed in the Infinite Wild carbon-neutral NFT collection found in WILD’s 2022 annual report (starting on page 34). This specific essay explores provisioning ecosystem services (starting on page 36) and how WILD’s programs help conserve and protect this life-giving support system.

A regulating ecosystem is a benefit that moderates other natural phenomena. Pollination, water purification, and carbon storage are nature’s way of finding and maintaining balance.

Humans also provide regulating services to each other that can help moderate the excessive impulses of our societies. Community is one of WILD’s favorite regulatory functions because it moderates as it fulfills. What does this mean?

On a recent trip to South Dakota, I was privileged to join the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota People and WILD’s partner in bringing Indigenous values and practices to the top of the conservation agenda. At the meeting, both ceremony and kinship ties were deployed to strengthen the bond between individuals as well as their commitment to common goals.

Even though the Lakota face heartbreaking challenges – the imminent loss of their language, continued violence against their people, hunger and homelessness on the reservation – by maintaining traditional communal structures, the Seven Council Fires are building one of the best defenses against the depression and hopelessness that can lead to personal and environmental destruction.

At the conclusion of the three-day event in Rapid City, everyone left feeling a strong sense of love, acceptance, and purpose.

It is my contention that these types of traditions are critical in moderating our own capacity for hyper-consumption. When we exist in strong, close-knit communities built around common values, especially in our relationship with the Earth, dissatisfaction quickly becomes satisfaction, and the void so many attempt to feel with material things is replaced by the warmth of fulfillment.

I observed the same only a week before in Montreal, Canada at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Although the sterile negotiating tables of the United Nations is hardly a place for community, our own coalition at COP consisting of WILD, One Earth, Avaaz, CoalitionWILD, and our new partner,, found communion in our fierce commitment to placing science-based solutions on the agenda.

While many of us were frustrated with the negotiation process, we worked together to bring new levels of attention and awareness of the need to protect Half of Earth’s lands and seas, recruiting dozens of new allies and partners in NGOs and the media. We also cultivated new opportunities for ambitious conservation projects that can push towards Half on a regional level, with or without international recognition of the science-based target.

Too often we associate regulation with a loss of freedom, when in reality many forms of regulation, both in nature and society, are actually of significant benefit and gain to individuals.

As we approach the holidays, consider how your own community – friends, family, and coworkers – engenders stronger, happier individuals devoted to a healthy relationship with others and with our Mother Earth.

When you donate to the WILD Foundation, you help drive some of conservation’s most ambitious (and scientifically-informed) policies, like Nature Needs Half. You help build strong coalitions and communities for a wilder, healthier planet. Change at this scale can take years, but the more you are able to contribute, the more resources WILD has to accelerate the pace of change in time to halt mass extinction and the climate emergency.

I invite you now to join us in this incredible journey as WILD continues to protect our life-giving Earth for the benefit of people and nature.

NOTE: WILD is one of the very few organizations actively working to build support for the protection of Half of Earth’s lands and seas, the amount of nature scientists conclude we need to successfully fight the twin existential crises of the climate and extinction emergencies. When you give to WILD you give voice to this urgently needed effort and fuel to both our on-the-ground conservation work and policy campaigns around the world. A gift of $250 pays for all of WILD’s conservation and campaign programs for one hour – making that hour yours! A gift of $2,000 pays for all of WILD’s programs for a full day. Although WILD’s team only wants you to give what you can afford, we would be thrilled to have you join this historic effort to restore and protect the infinite wild with a gift today. Thank you in advance for all you are doing to help keep Earth wild!


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