There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.
The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it -- a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.
We have just 4 days left in this crucial meeting. Experts say that politicians are hesitant to adopt such an ambitious goal, but that a global public outcry could tip the balance, making leaders feel the eyes of the world upon them. Click to sign the urgent 20/20 petition, and forward this email widely -- the message will be delivered directly to the meeting in Japan:
Ironically, 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. By now, our governments were supposed to have "achieved a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss." They have failed, consistently caving to industry when given a choice between narrow profit and protecting species. Our animals, plants, oceans, forests, soils, and rivers are choking under immense burdens from over-exploitation and other pressures.
Humans are the primary cause of this destruction. But we can turn it around -- we've saved species from extinction before. The causes of biodiversity decline are vast, and stopping them is going to require a move away from empty piecemeal promises with no clarity on who will pay, to a bold plan with strict enforcement and serious funding. The 20/20 plan is precisely that: governments will be forced to execute strict programmes to ensure that 20% of our earth is protected by the 2020 deadline, and massively scale up funding.
It has to be now. All over the world the picture is beginning to look bleaker -- there are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, our oceans are running out of fish, and we're losing unique food sources to large mono-plantations. Nature is resilient, but we have to give it a safe place to bounce back. That's why this meeting is key -- it's a watershed moment to accelerate action based on clear commitments that protect nature's capital.
If our governments feel overwhelming public pressure right now to be courageous, we can jolt them to commit to the 20/20 plan at this meeting. But it's going to take every one of us to get that message to echo around the convention in Japan. Sign this urgent petition below, then forward it widely:
Already this year Avaaz, members have played a critical role in protecting elephants, defending the whale-hunting ban, and securing the world's largest Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands. Our community has shown that we can set ambitious goals -- and win. This campaign is the next stage in the essential battle to create the world that most of us everywhere want -- where natural resources and species are valued, and our living planet is protected for future generations.
Alice, Iain, Emma, Ricken, Paula, Benjamin, Mia, David, Graziela, Ben, and the rest of the Avaaz team
The Times: "Third of all animals and plants face extinction"
The Guardian: "Public awareness of the biodiversity crisis is virtually non-existent"
Sydney Morning Herald: "UN calls for immediate action to save life on earth"
IUCN: "Why is biodiversity in crisis?"
More on the Convention of Biodiversity meeting