Chang[e] : Greenpeace calls on Obama to make history again

Greenpeace calls on Obama to make history again

Feature story - September 12, 2009
Greenpeace today embarked on an extraordinary 15-day journey with five elephants, to call upon the world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama to demonstrate audacious leadership and take immediate action to avert climate chaos.

A child holds a windmill symbolizing renewable energy during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant conservation center at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers from Bangkok. The 15-day journey will traverse the vast Central Plains of Thailand, to arrive at the outskirts of Bangkok. The city is the venue of a crucial UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) intercessional meeting before the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The caravan is additionally calling upon United States President Barack Obama to demonstrate decisive leadership to avert a climate catastrophe during the UN General Assembly focusing on climate in New York on September 22.

School children watch during an an educational talk to raise awareness on elephant conservation conducted by the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund (TERF) during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant conservation center at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers from Bangkok. The 15-day journey will traverse the vast Central Plains of Thailand, to arrive at the outskirts of Bangkok. The city is the venue of a crucial UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) intercessional meeting before the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The caravan is additionally calling upon United States President Barack Obama to demonstrate decisive leadership to avert a climate catastrophe during the UN General Assembly focusing on climate in New York on September 22.

School children watch during an an educational talk to raise awareness on elephant conservation conducted by the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund (TERF) during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant conservation center at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers from Bangkok. The 15-day journey will traverse the vast Central Plains of Thailand, to arrive at the outskirts of Bangkok. The city is the venue of a crucial UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) intercessional meeting before the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The caravan is additionally calling upon United States President Barack Obama to demonstrate decisive leadership to avert a climate catastrophe during the UN General Assembly focusing on climate in New York on September 22.

School children watch during an an educational talk to raise awareness on elephant conservation conducted by the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund (TERF) during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant conservation center at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers from Bangkok. The 15-day journey will traverse the vast Central Plains of Thailand, to arrive at the outskirts of Bangkok. The city is the venue of a crucial UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) intercessional meeting before the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The caravan is additionally calling upon United States President Barack Obama to demonstrate decisive leadership to avert a climate catastrophe during the UN General Assembly focusing on climate in New York on September 22.

A mahout elder performs a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey, at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A mahout elder performs a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey, at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A portrait of a mahout elder taken during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Mahout elders perform a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for good luck and safety before an elephant journey, at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants (chang in Thai) rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Suthikiat Sophanik, head of the General Chatchai Choonhavan, talks before an audience at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, talks before an audience at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A mahout elder stands before an elephant while waiting to perform a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey, at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A portrait of a mahout elder taken during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A man offers prayers to the diety Phra Phikanet (Ganesha), before the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A solar photo-voltaic set-up is on display during the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Greenpeace volunteers prepare games for school children who arriving for the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Greenpeace volunteers ready banners for the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

Five Asiatic Elephant (chang in Thai) walk to the location of a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey, at the launch of the Greenpeace-led Chang(e) Caravan in an elephant (chang in Thai) conservation centre at the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, about 200 kilometers North of Bangkok. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

A mahout elder stands before an elephant while waiting to perform a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey.

The Chang[e] Caravan, was launched at a colourful ceremony on the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and one of the last refuges of the Asian elephant. Chang, Thai for Asian elephant, is facing imminent extinction due to loss of forest cover.

"Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable and least prepared regions to cope with the impacts of climate change. Likewise, the Asian Elephant, along with almost 20 percent of world's biodiversity in the region, is severely threatened by relentless deforestation which in turn magnifies climate change impacts," said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace

Southeast Asia.

"Unfortunately despite the science and the obvious signs, world leaders are reluctant - even unwilling - to act. It is time for President Obama to take responsibility and deliver on the change he promised. He has a second chance to make history again. And that opportunity could be the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on September 22," he added.

The Chang(e) Caravan, a people's caravan for change, led by elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF), is a TckTckTck initiative involving a growing number of national and global organizations in support of a single goal: to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion in support of transformational change and rapid action to save the planet from dangerous levels of climate change.

The 15-day journey will traverse the vast Central Plains of Thailand, from Khao Yai National Park to the outskirts of Bangkok.  The city is the venue of a crucial UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) intercessional meeting before the Copenhagen climate summit in December.

"Time is running out. A strong climate treaty will not only reverse the march of dangerous climate change - it will also help us tackle the world's most urgent issues - energy security, food security, water security and protection of our last remaining hope, biodiversity on planet earth," said Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"Elephants are 'keystone' and 'umbrella' species that help maintain biodiversity of the ecosystems they inhabit.  Protecting the elephant by protecting its forest home means protecting the entire ecosystem on which the entire human species is also dependent. Developing countries are in urgent need of assistance and aid from developed countries to stop deforestation.  However, they must also strictly enforce national laws to protect the elephants and their forest habitat," said Alongkot Chukaew, Executive Director of TERF.

The other partners during this ambitious journey include Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand, General Chatchai Choonhavan Foundation, Agri-Nature Foundation, Self-sufficiency Economy institute of Rajabhat Rajanagarindra University, and Ancient Siam.

Latest scientific research shows catastrophic climate impacts can be averted by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions after 2015 in order to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.  Greenpeace is urging developed countries, as a group, to agree to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

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