"Does cooperation actually lead to a better environment?"
That’s a central question in the work of Örjan Bodin, a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. As 2017 draws to a close—a year in which, in many countries, partisan lines hardened and nationalist politicians advocated for a turn inward, away from the global stage—we might ask, “can cooperation lead to a better world?”
As a global conservation organization dedicated to improving the future for people and nature, our answer at The Nature Conservancy is a resounding “yes.” The environmental and development problems we confront today don’t fit neatly within national borders—they don’t even fit within discrete sectors. We see this as an opportunity—a chance to forge new partnerships with other institutions, businesses, governments and communities around the world.
Bodin’s research suggests that collaboration alone won’t solve our problems—success hinges on connecting the right actors in the right kind of networks, with organizing help from "trusted coordinators." Building such networks isn't easy—but the results can make a powerful difference for people and nature.
Looking back at 2017, amidst persistent challenges there is also cause for hope in how collaborative efforts are creating new opportunities for a better future. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite stories.