Thursday, 30 September 2010

Andrew Marr says "We are three weeks away from a crucial conference"

Last night there was an excellent debate at the British Museum titled Conserving Biodiversity. Whose money? Whose rules?

Tonight our Senior Advisor, Anne Wheldon, gives a talk titled Stoking up a cookstove revolution: The secret weapon against poverty and climate change.

It's not hard to see the link between the two.

A significant driver of deforestation is the amount of trees cut down for open fire cooking. This leads to loss of habitat for animals, loss of native plants and soil erosion that increases risk of flooding.

2010 is the international year of biodiversity. Yesterday a report was released that said one in five of the world's plants are under threat of extinction.

The issues of biodiversity, poverty, renewable energy and climate change are all bound up in the idea of sustainability. What's fascinating about hearing this debate at the British Museum is seeing sustainability treated - quite rightly - as both an environmental and a cultural issue.

Last night's discussion, part of the South Africa Landscape events programme (a joint venture with Kew), was chaired by the BBC's Andrew Marr.

"This is as big, if not bigger, than climate change," he said, reminding the audience that "We are three weeks away from a crucial conference in Japan."

Next month officials from 193 countries are meeting in Nagoya, Japan for the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. They will be taking vital decisions about the future of biodiversity in the world.

He added, "Up till now this issue hasn't had its Al Gore."

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