WWF International turns 60

As WWF-Canada, we’re focused on, well, Canada. But we’re proud to be part of an international organization that, this year, is celebrating 60 years of conservation impact.

Since 1961, WWF has grown into a global network with local leadership and operations in nearly 100 countries and over 35 million supporters. So we asked Monte Hummel, our president emeritus, for his thoughts on the anniversary.

Sixty years later, how has WWF changed the world?

First and foremost, there’s the specific conservation results obtained for species and habitats through tens of thousands of WWF field projects.

Secondly, WWF has earned official status in many international organizations and agreements, ranging from wildlife trade to whaling to climate change. We’ve helped to obtain and monitor conservation commitments that apply to multiple countries and the world as a whole.

a kelp beach in Foggy Inlet, Newfoundland and Labrador
Kelp beach, Foggy Inlet © Shutterstock

You joined WWF-Canada more than 40 years ago what was the work mostly about back then?

We focused our projects on species at risk, funded really good fieldwork and got this reputation for doing great work across Canada. That’s when we started dreaming big and thinking more strategically about what meaningful conservation for Canada really looked like.

What are some examples?

Monte Hummel
© WWF-Canada

In 1981, we started taking more of a regional approach to conservation. In 1989, we took on our biggest campaign, Endangered Spaces, which was meant to protect the spaces that species need to live, migrate, feed and raise their young.

By the time it was over, it had literally changed the map of Canada by protecting more land than we thought was possible.

As you think back to all the work you’ve done, what are you most excited about for the next 60 years?

I’m excited about actually implementing the commitments we’ve made to address climate change. And I just hope we can do this in time to make the difference that nature needs. It’s time for the big talkers to vacate centre stage, to make way for the big doers.