Blog by Xenya Cherny-Scanlon, Special Assistant to the Director General and member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication.

You’ve seen it on the volunteers’ t-shirts, you’ve seen it on the billboards around Jeju, you’ve seen it in the titles of documents and sessions. I am talking, of course, about the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress slogan: nature+.
Several people have asked me how the Congress slogan came about. The answer is, it was born on one grey November afternoon at IUCN headquarters in Switzerland.

We were brainstorming about the Congress slogan, to capture the overall theme of nature’s resilience. Lots of ideas were being thrown around. Some retained, some rejected, some reflected upon.

The challenge was to explain, in a clear and succinct way, how nature’s resilience is essential for our own wellbeing, our prosperity and our continued survival on this planet.

We were working off a very comprehensive (read: long!) background document, full of scientific concepts and cryptic acronyms – REDD+, TEEB+, Rio+20…

And then I had a lightbulb moment – what our Congress is really about is nature + !

It is a simple and positive message that there is so much more to nature than what we know about!

As soon as this idea was articulated, a stream of other ideas and associations came rushing in: nature + climate, nature + economy, nature + people, and so on…

And so nature + was born.

I am delighted to see that nature+ has resonated both with the IUCN community and our Korean hosts, who demonstrated amazing creativity in its application.

My favourite so far, I admit, is Nature + K-POP concert (who would have thought the IUCN Congress slogan could become a hit pop song?!)

And as far as memorable slogans go, I am a strong believer that it is really about shortness and simplicity. Think “I ♥ NY” or “Just do it!” – you don’t have to say much to get your point across.

I hope that nature+ will have a life beyond this Congress, and perhaps even beyond IUCN – and that it would contribute, in however a small way, to bringing about a positive change in the way we care about nature.