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Great Turtle Race = Great Idea

The Great Turtle Race is a fantastic idea for many reasons, including the following:

  • It speaks to the non-scientist person’s human concern for the world. Conservation is presented as something that can be helped by an incremental contribution.
  • It elicits a feeling of membership as we gather in groups to root for one turtle or another. A sense of ownership and/or membership is a powerful component of a conversation for action.
  • It is an affirmation of life; these female turtles just laid eggs, after all. This positive message underscores the threat of extinction at the same time that it focuses on the goal of life.
  • It utilizes the human predilection for competition, rather than bemoaning it. When you stop to think about it, the turtles aren’t racing each other. The human narrative, however is one of competition, therefore we’re calling it a race. Understanding the human situation and working within it is a wise move on the part of people who desire to change the course of huge populations of humans who are affecting ever smaller populations of leatherback turtles.

I applaud the race organizers, especially TOPP Tagging of Pacific Predators. It looks like they led the charge and essentially came up with the idea. Brilliant strategic marketing!

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