The panda — the centerpiece of our logo for 60 years — is gone! Leaving a gaping void in our logo. It just didn’t feel right that on World Wildlife Day, and as species around the world are disappearing, to use the panda image like nothing is happening. Today it too disappears to highlight the importance of wildlife and the dangerous risk of nature loss to our civilisation.
We need nature. Numerous studies show that nature is vital for our emotional and psychological wellbeing. Nature is part of our fabric, we bring pieces of it into our cities and most urban homes. It is depicted everywhere from children’s cartoons and fairytale characters to countries’ flags and in the names and logos of countless products, companies and sport teams.
In these unprecedented times, when the world’s forests, coral reefs and many other natural ecosystems are heading towards disastrous tipping points and wildlife populations have suffered a ⅔ decline in less than 50 years, let’s remind ourselves how much nature matters…to us. And not only for our leisure and inspiration.
Nature provides irreplaceable services that have supported our development for millennia. Pollinators are declining and putting the productivity and resilience of our agriculture at risk- ⅔ of our crops depend on them. Deforestation degrades soil and alters local rainfall patterns. The livelihoods, food security and healthy nutrition of hundreds of millions of people are at risk as fish stocks decline in the ocean and rivers.
The planet is flashing red warning signals. The COVID19 global pandemic highlights the tragic costs of our broken relationship with nature — deforestation, commercial wildlife trade and consumption, and intensive animal farming, all key drivers in the insurgence of zoonotic diseases and pandemics, where viruses jump from animals to humans.
Today it’s blatantly clear how nature loss is putting our economy and health at risk, exacerbating inequalities. After millennia, and particularly the last century, of taking nature for granted and building our development at the expense of the natural environment, we must now embrace a deep cultural revolution in our relationship with the natural world.
It’s time to value, embrace and respect nature through stewardship and true sustainable use. Nature conservation is not only an ecological and moral issue, but also an economic, health and equity issue. The right to a healthy environment is perhaps the most fundamental of all human rights.
To demonstrate the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves, today — for the first time in our 60 year history — WWF has removed the iconic panda from our logo.
When Sir Peter Scott drew the first WWF logo, he said “we wanted an animal that is beautiful, is endangered, and… had an impact”
However today, on World Wildlife Day, we believe the most impactful thing for logo is to remove the panda, integral to our logo for the past sixty years, to help raise further awareness and drive the change we need.
In fact, the panda is not alone. Today, on social media feeds across the internet, other nature icons are disappearing too. Roma Football Club’s wolf has gone amiss. Hootsuite’s owl has left its nest. PG Tips has shed its leaves.
The message is clear. We can’t take from nature without giving back. That’s why brands and sports teams around the world are all joining forces to show just what a #WorldWithoutNature would be: empty and uninspiring! And also less safe, less prosperous and less equitable.
Today’s action demonstrates the rising awareness and demand for the world to take decisive action to halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030.
2021 is a critical year to unite governments, corporates and consumers around a global goal for nature. Later this year, governments from around the world will meet to agree a new global agreement for nature, like the one we have for climate. Alongside a carbon neutral goal for climate by 2050, we need a ‘nature positive’ global goal to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.
Tomorrow our panda will return to its home on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As will the other icons borrowed from nature that normally feature so prominently on many other brands’ social profiles.
Their absence for a day helps remind us that we cannot live without nature. There won’t be a prosperous, healthy and equitable future for us, our children and their children in a degraded planet. It’s time to finally set aside our arrogance as a dominant species, and realise that we depend on nature much more than nature depends on us.
Director General, WWF International