New York � Few people realize that burning and clearing tropical forests emits at least 20 percent* of total greenhouse gases that cause climate change � more than all the world�s cars, trucks and airplanes combined.
Conservation International (www.conservation.org) and its partners want to change that.
In New York, President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana and leaders of Conservation International (CI) launched a new global campaign entitled �Lost There, Felt Here� that focuses on the vital role of healthy tropical forests in stabilizing our climate.
The central message of the campaign � which includes a video segment featuring Ford � is that destroying tropical forest hurts people everywhere. The pristine forests that are home to half the species on Earth also combat climate change and provide essential resources to the people who live in and around them.
TAKE ACTION: Check out the Lost There, Felt Here campaign.
�Every year, tropical forest equal to an area the size of England disappears. That�s a jungle the size of Manhattan lost every four hours,� Ford said. �Saving forests is more than helping wildlife survive. It combats climate change, and allows people to continue getting the fresh water and food and medicines they need from healthy forest ecosystems.�
�Conserving forests is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change and help people adapt to the impacts of a warming planet,� said Peter Seligmann, CI chairman and CEO. �Tropical deforestation emits at least 20 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, but currently attracts less than 1 percent of investments in the global carbon market created by the Kyoto Protocol. We need to ensure that these investments are proportionate to the magnitude of the problem.�
In Guyana, a South American nation that retains up to 80 percent of its original Amazon forest cover, President Jagdeo is working with CI and other international and local partners on creating incentives to conserve the irreplaceable habitat. He has offered to place the nation�s forest under a strict regime that pays Guyana for the carbon dioxide stored in the trees and other biomass. Currently, the Kyoto Protocol fails to recognize forest protection actions such as Guyana�s as valid carbon credits, but U.N. negotiators are now considering an expanded market to include forest conservation.
�We must create incentives to reward the conservation of existing forest and support our communities with new economic development alternatives for the 21st century,� said President Jagdeo. �This will compensate countries like Guyana that have protected their forests for decades, and prevent the migration of deforestation to countries where it historically has not taken place.�
READ MORE: Download Harnessing Nature as a Solution to Climate Change (PDF - 4.96 MB)
�These irreplaceable forests are under threat from increasing demand from a resource-hungry world,� said CI President Russell A. Mittermeier. �The fact that the carbon market is finally beginning to look at the critical importance of forest carbon provides a unique new opportunity to compensate tropical countries for protecting these forests at a scale far beyond anything that has been done to date and in a way that is truly sustainable both ecologically and economically. Guyana's enlightened approach to this issue could serve as a model for many other forest-rich countries around the world.�
�Conservation of tropical forests is an immediate tool to battle climate change by reducing emissions. It is also one of the most cost-effective steps we can take and one that provides lasting benefits to poor people in developing countries. But we have to act now. These forests won�t last with growing economic pressures to clear these areas to generate income,� said Glenn Prickett, CI Climate Change Team leader, senior vice president and executive director for the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.
The �Lost There, Felt Here� campaign calls for harnessing �nature�s technology� � the healthy ecosystems that regulate the climate and sustain life on Earth. At the same time, it is important to end fossil fuel dependence by creating new man-made technologies. While that may decades, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation can take place right away.
The campaign, created by BBDO New York, one of the top ten most awarded agencies in the world, is a TotalWork project which includes press, digital, outdoor, collateral materials and film. The centerpiece is a 30-second video featuring Ford that is directed by Academy Award winner Janusz Kaminski, with music by Pearl Jam. It shows Ford having his chest hair removed as a provocative metaphor for the �Lost There, Felt Here� theme. �The goal is to raise awareness of the cost and harm to all of us from destroying some of the richest tropical forests in the world,� said Bill Bruce, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York. �It is intended to shake people up and get them to take action.�
VIDEO: Watch Harrison Ford in the Conservation International the PSA.
Print ads, radio and online spots in several languages will follow as the campaign rolls out worldwide.
The campaign also provides an opportunity for individuals to take immediate action by protecting an acre and supporting urgent conservation programs to protect tropical forests worldwide.
Atmosphere BBDO handled the online portion of the campaign; media is being coordinated by PHD. All are part of Omnicom Group, Inc.
JOURNALISTS: For materials to supplement this story, please visit ftp.bbdo.com. The user name is �CI� and the password is �CI.� There you will find photos, video, bios, and reports outlining the campaign.
Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth�s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.
*CI regularly reassesses our assumptions and conclusions to ensure they are consistent with the most current and reliable data sources available so that we are delivering accurate and up-to-date information. Accordingly, in December 2009, we updated our estimates related to global greenhouse gas emissions to reflect the best and most current science. We now estimate that 16% of greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and logging.
See our deforestation, logging and GHG emissions factsheet (PDF - 2.7KB) for details and data sources.