Today I will celebrate. And my friends and colleagues in the Greenpeace Forest campaign will too. But this is nothing different for us. We do this every day. But maybe, just maybe, the focus that a day like today brings may help our work to protect the world’s remaining forests.
Today, 21stMarch, is the International Day of Forests. This date was agreed by the UN General Assembly in November 2012 so that every year there would be one day set aside to “celebrate and raise awareness” of forests.And I invite you to celebrate too. And to resolve to protect forests in whatever way you can.Forests are important. They are the spiritual and physical home to millions of people. They are a store of biodiversity. And importantly in this day and age, they are critical in terms of climate change. Simply put, forests store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their living parts. This is roughly 40 times the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuels. Deforestation accounts for approximately the same amount of climate pollution as all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined. So, from a climate point of view it’s better to keep the GHGs where they are by preserving and protecting the forests.Forests also regulate water flow and rainfall so we depend on them to grow our crops and food. Loss of a forest in one part of the world can have severe impacts in another – scientists have found that the loss of forest in Amazonia and Central Africa can severely reduce rainfall in the USA Midwest.
For Greenpeace, every day is a day to celebrate forests. We campaign to protect forests because of the vast range of amazing biodiversity they support, because they capture and contain climate changing greenhouse gases, because they are home to millions of people and – last but not least – because without healthy thriving forests, planet Earth cannot sustain life.
So let’s all celebrate forests today and every day by speaking up and standing up for their protection.