To address our greatest global challenges, we must work together.
That's the message more than 200 guests heard when they gathered April 4 at the Montage Beverly Hills for Conservation International's (CI) 17th Annual Los Angeles Dinner. Speakers gave compelling testimony about how CI's partnerships at every level — from corporations to indigenous communities — have helped create a better future for humanity.
Chairman's Council Member Gillian Wynn opened the night, explaining that, in the face of the dire problems humanity faces, the work of CI and Disney to protect verdant forests lets us know there is still hope.
Next, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and CI Board Member Dr. Jared Diamond shared stories from his recent trip to Indonesia. He discussed how society has become globalized, causing us to lose our understanding — which traditional peoples still have — of how we rely on nature.
Yet Dr. Diamond was optimistic. Organizations like CI, he said, help bridge the gaps between local communities, national governments and multinational corporations, placing nature at the center of critical global conversations.
Actor and CI Vice Chairman Harrison Ford opened the second half of the program with the stark reminder that nature doesn't need people to survive; people need nature.
Ford spoke of the urgency for political bickering to end and for all parties — business and political — to come together and recognize the direct connection between international conservation and America's economic and national security interests.
CI Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann shared stories from his recent trip to Tanzania. He described how farmers in the eastern African nation are barely able to feed their families due to the effects of climate change. The need for change is real and urgent, Seligmann said, yet there is still room for optimism thanks to partnerships such as the one between CI and Disney.
During the event, CI honored The Walt Disney Company with its prestigious Global Conservation Leadership Award. The award recognizes Disney's long-held commitment to sustainability and its inspiring action to protect the environment.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger accepted the award. He was there, he said, on behalf of thousands of the company's employees around the world who make environmental stewardship "part of the corporate DNA." (Read more about Disney's efforts to protect the planet for future generations.)
Guests were treated to traditional Peruvian food and decor to honor Disney's support of CI's Alto Mayo forest carbon project in Peru. The evening raised more than $750,000 that will go toward CI's efforts to protect nature for the well-being of all people.