"A stable climate, fresh water resources, a sustainable food supply and a healthy environment are vital for our survival. Therefore we must share the responsibility by taking meaningful action toward people and our planet."
These were the words of Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International, at yesterday's New York City press conference, which brought together leaders in the world of government, business, non-profit and other fields to take a stand for collective action against climate change, particularly through tropical forest protection.
To help raise awareness of the need to fully value and fund climate agreements that help reduce deforestation and reforest degraded lands, CI is launching Team Earth, a ground-breaking cross-sector partnership designed to rally action for the issues that impact all seven billion people on the planet.
"Climate change is the first order of business for Team Earth," continued Seligmann in his address.
LEARN MORE: Experts predict that the effects of climate change will threaten our livelihoods, health and ecosystems at a scale never seen before.
A Fragile Forest
Our event occurred during New York City's Climate Week, site of the United Nations General Assembly meeting – the largest ever meeting of heads of state focusing exclusively on climate change.
Starting Sunday, a paper forest built by world-renowned origami artist Dr. Robert J. Lang "grew" for two days in Manhattan's Greeley Square. The forest served as the backdrop for a major CI-led press event, where a variety of leaders spoke out for increased funding for forest carbon projects, particularly in high forest cover, low deforestation (HFLD) countries.
Like origami's intricate constructions, tropical forest ecosystems are beautiful, complex and exceedingly fragile; if either is not cared for properly, it can be destroyed in a fraction of the time it took to create.
As a sobering metaphor for the fragility of the world's tropical forests, CI President Dr. Russell Mittermeier's address to the audience was interrupted by the dramatic destruction of part of the origami forest by a group of people yielding buzzsaws.
This act was followed by a plea by Bharrat Jagdeo, president of Guyana, who emphasized the need for immediate action to protect the forests of his country and others from experiencing a similar fate and imperiling our planet's future.
One Million Names for Team Earth
In his speech, actor and CI Board of Directors member Harrison Ford urged the audience to "get off the bench" and join the effort to sign up one million names to teamearth.com – a movement which will show the world's leadership that we, as environmentally-minded consumers, are a real constituency with a strong voice.
Explore the forests, people and spirit of the country on the forefront of a movement to make forest-carbon a central element of efforts to slow climate change.
||High Forest Cover, Low Deforestation (HFLD) Countries |
Protecting forests in HFLD countries like Guyana, Suriname and the Democratic Republic of Congo is essential for maintaining local livelihoods and vital carbon storage. Read more about CI's efforts to include HFLD countries in international climate discussions.
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