The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Keynote Speaker at GIN Conference opens discussion on importance of environment


Will Villota held an engaging and interactive presentation addressing various environmental issues on March 15th at the DC GIN conference.

Villota, the vice-principal of brand marketing at Conservation International, took the interest of everyone in the audience using interactive polls. Villota started off the presentation showing a short, yet very impactful video from his award winning “Nature is Speaking” campaign. It immediately gripped the interest of the audience, as Julia Robert’s familiar voice was the voice of “mother nature”. The purpose of the video was to open people’s eyes, and inspire them to do something about humans ruining the world. Many students found the video inspiring and truthful, however others found it mocking and too provocative.

“The presentation was very impactful to have the brutally honest truth presented to you in that fashion especially with such familiar voices of celebrities, so it really opened up my eyes. The videos were absolutely inspiring because it conveyed a truth that we really need to face head on just like it was presented to us,” WIS Junior, Antonio Musalem Pinto said.

However, not all students had the same reaction. “I didn’t like the videos very much. I liked the visuals, they were beautiful, but I think there’s a big difference between being aggressive and being more mocking. I think that being aggressive in the film about the environment to inform people is necessary but the films were very mocking and I felt kind of threatened,” WIS junior Mikaela Matera-Vatnick said.

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Villota went from working with Yahoo! And Adidas where he did branding for two FIFA world cups to working for a non-profit in Germany, Oregon and now at Conservation International in DC. At Conservation nternational, he oversaw the award-winning Nature is Speaking campaign. He is responsible for defining the Conservation International brand and creating films and print materials to inspire audiences to support environmental issues.

Villota is passionate about the environment, and said that he really wanted to be part of the solution, and to contribute to solving environmental problems instead of continue with doing brand marketing for large firms. He believes that the deforestation is one of the most important environmental issues, as trees are incredibly important for our survival as humans. They are our natural air filters and we would not be able to live without them.

“Nature is everywhere. We need to take a moment to appreciate the nature around us and take a minute and look at the beauty of the world. It just leaves me in awe. I believe that nature matters. It’s worth protecting and it’s worth fighting for,” Villota said after his impactful presentation.

After many meetings about how Conservation International could inspire people to to support them, and be motivated to help them fight environmental destruction, the answer was met with a simple question: “If nature could speak, what would it say?” It should be a powerful video with stunning visuals and a powerful message. The reaction of some students show that this was achieved.

Fatima, a 9th grader at Washington International School who attended the GIN conference said, “The films were my favourite part of the presentation because it conveyed the message very well. It has more impact on us because if the message is just told through like a speech or something, students tend to drain out, but a video is more captivating and entertaining.”



By Elena Zettelmeyer

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