-  the carmelite ngo  -

The following was received in two emails to the Carmelite NGO from Meryem C. Amar, Information Officer, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Division of Communications and Public Information in Nairobi, Kenya:

Email received August 26, 2008--

Greetings from Nairobi!

Your inspiring newsletter (CarmeNGO) was passed on to us by Ms. Julia Hagl. It caught my attention as I received my education at the Carmel Saint Joseph school of Casablanca, in the 1970s.

We are very pleased to learn from the newsletter of the efforts to conserve the environment by the Carmelite network, especially in the fight against deforestation and climate change.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the author for including a piece on the Billion Tree Campaign. As you may already know, the campaign has so far been a success registering over 3.8 billion tree planting pledges and over 2.2 billion planted trees.

The campaign's new target is seven billion trees - one tree per inhabitant on the planet by the 2009 climate change meeting to be held in Copenhagen.

I therefore would be very grateful if you could continue to advocate for this initiative, as we are planning to enlist the support of faith-based groups worldwide.

Email received August 27, 2008--

It is my pleasure to inform the Carmelite network worldwide that the United Nations Environment Programme launched its first global tree planting project on 8 November 2006 in Nairobi during the 12th Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Due to its success, and by popular demand, the campaign has been extended to cover 2008 and 2009. The campaign has just won the UN 21 Award as a substantive programme in recognition of its “exceptional contribution towards improving efficiency in the United Nations”.

Placed under the patronage of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Wangari Maathai and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, the campaign is raising awareness of the inter-dependence between humankind and the planet’s ecosystems, as well as the linkages between tree planting and climate change mitigation, the restoration of biodiversity, air and soil quality and food security.

Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, faith groups like yours, governments, private sector companies, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, farmers, local authorities and the public at large are encouraged to enter tree-planting pledges on the dedicated web-site www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign, with the objective of planting and caring for a total of one billion additional trees world-wide in the course of the year 2008.

As at the end of August, the website recorded three billion 800 million tree-planting pledges from around the world and from all spheres of society, from the grassroots level to the highest positions in decision-making.

Over 2.2 billion trees have been planted under the umbrella of the campaign.

        To define the pace of development, which is both equitable and sustainable, one has to take into account the increased vulnerability of ecosystems to the phenomenon of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides specific information on the nature of future impacts. Climate change is projected to impinge on sustainable development in most developing countries as it compounds the pressures on natural resources and the environment associated with rapid urbanization and economic development. Glacier melt will be followed by decreased river flows, and freshwater availability is projected to decrease. By the 2050s, billions of people could be adversely affected. Endemic morbidity and mortality are expected to rise due to increases in coastal water temperatures.

Therefore, in the face of recent alarming data, the Billion Tree Campaign offers hope and a simple solution for climate change mitigation, while enriching biodiversity.

I would like to invite your fellowship and its followers to join the campaign and authorize you to use the Plant for the Planet logo.

I look forward to our dialogue.