Beth Allgood
Beth at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary with ranger, 2015
2023

Beth Allgood

Wildlife Advocate

Measuring what matters

meet beth

Beth Allgood is the founder and president of OneNature, where she leads research on the value of wildlife and nature to human well-being, developing approaches to measure and support community well-being that will foster more sustainable outcomes for people and local wildlife. Prior to founding OneNature, Allgood was the senior policy advisor for international government relations at The Nature Conservancy, a congressional liaison, a government aid agency liaison at the World Wildlife Fund, and the U.S. director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Measuring what matters
Nominated by: Bonnie Wyper MR'18
Class of 2023 Location Maryland, USA
Beth at Tiger’s nest Bhutan, 2015
Beth at Tiger’s nest Bhutan, 2015

For decades, policymakers have used Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a leading indicator of any given economy’s general health. However, GDP as a single metric cannot meaningfully assess a country’s overall quality of life or well-being. This is true not just at a global level but also at a local level. Unfortunately, this narrow focus on economic productivity as a measure of success has been ingrained in community development and conservation projects. As a result, most wildlife conservation has emphasized economic approaches to saving wildlife and wild places in a way that may be at odds with or even undermine traditional community values of wildlife and wild places.

“As part of a comprehensive approach to community conservation centered on community values and perceptions, this index will enable conservation practitioners to better support communities and wildlife.”

- Beth Allgood
Beth in Trinidad, 2013
Beth in Trinidad, 2013 Author: David Mahabir

Rather than relying solely on models that equate economic growth with human thriving, we can use common values grounded in well-being. To understand and measure well-being in conservation projects, it’s common practice to rely on objective indicators (information observed about the community) and not subjective indicators (information about the subject’s experience from the subject’s perspective) in assessing community impacts. Both types of information are vital to establishing a true well-being baseline that can provide reliable information on community perceptions and early warning signs of unanticipated challenges. To address this gap, I cocreated a peer-reviewed community well-being index that assesses life satisfaction, the many domains of well-being, and communities’ feelings about wildlife and nature around them. As part of a comprehensive approach to community conservation centered on community values and perceptions, this index will enable conservation practitioners to better support communities and wildlife. Moreover, it can inform and encourage decision-makers to better understand the value and connection communities have to wildlife and nature. This information can then be used to develop more socially just and sustainable policies and better source funding to increase human thriving, protect species and habitats, and improve long-term economic sustainability.

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