From 19th to 23rd October 2020, the European Wilderness Society hosted the first International Wilderness Week. During these five days, Wilderness advocates from around the world celebrated Wilderness with online presentations, discussions, workshops, reports from community events, Q&As and much more!
The meaning and history of Wilderness is just as diverse as its appearance around the world. Unfortunately, Wilderness is disappearing globally at an alarming rate. The year 2020 was supposed to be important for Wilderness. The international Wilderness Conference WILD11 as well as the COP15 Conference on the UN Convention of Biological Diversity should have provided opportunities to share ideas and solutions. However, the COVID-19 crisis changed everything. Lockdowns around the world have forced the cancellation of many events or moved them online. We are making virtue of necessity and want to create a unique event that is accessible live for everyone around the world with internet access. The first International Wilderness Week was a celebration of Wilderness that creates a platform to share enthusiasm for Wilderness and to learn from Wilderness advocates in all parts of the world. It also includes a conference, where researchers, scientists and practitioners present and discuss their work and lessons learned.
The first two days was a Wilderness Festival bringing together Wilderness advocates from around the world.
After two days of sharing and learning, we ventured into Wilderness.
The last two days of the first International Wilderness Week took us from the popular to the scientific aspect of Wilderness.
The first International Wilderness Week was a one-of-a-kind event. Its virtual set up allows to address and involve all time zones and regions. The virtual space also provided easy and cheap access for everyone. Every single of the five days was packed with a stunning 15 hours of content divided into three geographical blocks.
Coming together for our world’s Wilderness
We know that there are people everywhere, working hard to preserve Wilderness in their homes. It is a tough mission, so the European Wilderness Society has been working from its beginning to connect Wilderness advocates in Europe and beyond. Our international projects, the Wilderness Academy Days, the Vlado Vancura Wilderness Academy, the webinar series with speakers from Asia, Africa and the European Wilderness Network were created in this spirit. The International Wilderness Week is the next step on this journey. We had speakers and participants from all continents who presented the beauty of their local Wilderness, shined a light on the issues they face and inspired the audience with visions for the future.