‘Only unity can save the planet’

2011-12-08 00:00

IN AN emotional address, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon yesterday reiterated the importance of green growth in order to combat climate change.

“It has been said that the simplest way to combat global warming is to tackle deforestation and that is what we need to strive toward,” he said.

Ban said another key issue is to find common ground on the Kyoto Protocol.

“We can’t expect to move forward if we are in dispute,” he said, adding that work can go ahead to save the planet only once there is unity in politics.

To a standing ovation, Ban left to address other matters of urgency concerning the COP17.

However, it was the UN messenger of peace, Jane Goodall, who pulled no punches, saying that countries need to discuss population growth, despite its being politically taboo, in order to comprehend completely what is being strategised.

“We find ourselves in this serious mess together and it is together that we need to fix it,”said Goodall.

In the past humanity needed the forests, but now the forests need humanity, she added.

“Before we even start to talk about saving the planet, we need to talk about alleviating poverty — for it is this desperation that would make man farm the last piece of land in order to feed his family,” she said.

Goodall told the room full of high-profile guests and journalists, press, “Government representatives are often guilty of lining their pockets, as was the case in Kenya, which our beloved Wangari Maathai fought so hard to counter.”

A video tribute was played in honour of Maathai, the late environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize and fought against government corruption.

Maathai was also acknowledged in a video feed of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who praised her for her courage and initiative.

“The fruits of her labour are showing and we all need to heed the warning of climate change,” he said.

Video messages by U.S. President Barack Obama and Liberia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Toga Gayewea McIntosh, were also shown.


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