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Avatar: Reaching The Heart

Avatar: Reaching The Heart

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UNEP's magazine for youth.
UNEP's magazine for youth.

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Published by: United Nations Environment Programme on Jun 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 The UNEP Magazine for Youth
 for young people · by young people · about young people
“We should not be afraid to fight for what we believe is right”
 UNEP promotesenvironmentally sound practicesglobally and in its own activities. Thismagazine is printed on 100% recycled paper,using vegetable-based inks and other eco-friendly practices. Our distribution policy aimsto reduce UNEP’s carbon footprint.
the UNEP magazinefor youth. To view currentand past issues of thispublication online,please visit www.unep.org
United Nations EnvironmentProgramme (UNEP)
PO Box 30552, Nairobi, KenyaTel (254 20) 7621 234Fax (254 20) 7623 927Telex 22068 UNEP KEE-mail uneppub@unep.orgwww.unep.orgISSN 1727-8902
Director of Publication
Satinder Bindra
Geoffrey Lean
Special Contributor 
Wondwosen Asnake
 Youth Editors
Karen Eng, Deborah Woolfson
Nairobi Coordinator 
Naomi Poulton
Head, UNEP’s Children and Youth Unit
 Theodore Oben
Circulation Manager 
Manyahleshal Kebede
Edward Cooper, Ecuador 
Front cover 
Twentieth Century Fox 
 Youth Contributors
Carla Basantes, Ecuador; MaríaFernanda Burneo, Ecuador; Francisco Chuc, Mexico;Kate de Mattos-Shipley, UK; Edgar Geguiento,Philippines; Janeicie Kantún, Mexico; Felicity Kuek,Malaysia; Abhiram Kramadhati Gopi, India; BrittanyLynn Valdez, USA; Julio Martínez, Mexico; TributeMboweni, South Africa; Robert Nelson, Haiti/USA;María Belén San Martín, Peru; Tan Sijie, Singapore;Maia Tanner, UK.
Other Contributors
Sarah Bladen, WWF; MarkCarwardine; Fergus Drennan; Irene Hoffmann, FAO;Martin Jenkins; Tim Menke, Twentieth CenturyFox; Sergiy Paskevych, www.chornobyl.un.ua; FredPearce; Shauna Swartz; Rosey Simonds and DavidWoollcombe, Peace Child International; DamonStanwell-Smith, UNEP-WCMC; Christoph Schröter-Schlaack, TEEB; Susie Weldon, ARC.Printed in the United Kingdom
The contents of this magazine do not necessarily re-flect the views or policies of UNEP or the editors,nor are they an official record. The designations em-ployed and the presentation do not imply the expres-sion of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNEPconcerning the legal status of any country, territoryor city or its authority, or concerning the delimitationof its frontiers or boundaries.
Editorial 3Does biodiversity matter? 4Avatar: reaching the heart 6Taking action 8Last chance to think 10Where the wild things are 12The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity 14Food choice 16TUNZA answers your questions 18Faith in nature 18Closer to home 19Measured questions 20Fighting back 21Seven species on the climate change hit list 22The year of the tiger 24
Keep up with TUNZA on Facebook!www.tinyurl.com/tunzamagfb
 UNEP and Bayer, the German-basedinternational enterprise involvedin health care, crop science andmaterials science, are working together to strengthen young people’senvironmental awareness and engagechildren and youth in environmentalissues worldwide.
The partnership agreement, renewedto run through 2010, lays down abasis for UNEP and Bayer to enlargetheir longstanding collaboration tobring successful initiatives to countriesaround the world and develop newyouth programmes. Projects include:TUNZA Magazine, the InternationalChildren’s Painting Competition onthe Environment, the Bayer YoungEnvironmental Envoy in Partnershipwith UNEP, the UNEP TunzaInternational Youth/Children’sConference, youth environmentalnetworks in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe,Latin America, North America and WestAsia, the Asia-Pacific Eco-Minds forum,and a photo competition, ‘Ecology inFocus’, in Eastern Europe.
Vol 8 No 1
y now the world should be well on the way todefusing the greatest ever threat to life on Earthin human history. For this is the year by which theworld’s governments solemnly swore that they wouldbe beating back the biodiversity crisis, which threatensto bring about the sixth mass extinction of species in thelifetime of our planet, and the first since the disappearanceof the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. To be precise, worldleaders pledged, early last decade, ‘to achieve, by 2010, asignificant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity lossat the global, regional and national level, as a contribution topoverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.’ As the pledge indicates, the biodiversity crisis is not justabout vanishing species, important though that is. It isalso destroying the vital services that nature providesfor humanity. We depend on soils and seas for food, forexample, on forests for freshwater, on trees to reducepollution, on wild species for many of our medicines. And yet half of the world’s wetlands have been lost overthe last century; 40 per cent of its forests in just the lastthree decades. A third of coral reefs – the most importantbreeding grounds for fish – have been seriously damaged. And, every year, 25 billion tonnes of topsoil is erodedaway. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the mostcomprehensive study on the issue ever undertaken,concluded that 60 per cent of the world’s such ‘ecosystemservices’ had been degraded over the last 50 years.Poor people in developing countries are most reliant onthese services, and so suffer most when they are damagedor lost. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointedout, they are vital for achieving the all-important MillenniumDevelopment Goals. But everyone is affected, since theentire world economy is effectively utterly dependent onthe natural environment. And yet the importance of whatis happening is not recognized. As the ground-breakingproject, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, haspointed out: ‘It is hard to think of any other asset wherewe would tolerate its loss without asking ourselves whatwe are losing and why.’ No asset is more important.2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. It could bea year of shame, representing the world’s failure to liveup to its pledge to tackle the crisis. Or it could be one of promise, marking the moment when humanity decidedfinally to turn it around. We must do everything we can tomake the second scenario a reality.
Biological Diversity
What YOU can do
One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity,but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealthmust not be underestimated. Here are just four ways to doyour bit to encourage biodiversity and, what’s more, inspirethose around you:PLANT
local species in your garden or on your balcony, orvolunteer at your local nature reserve, school or botanicalgardens. You will be providing nourishment for native ani-mals and helping native plants to thrive. If you enjoy teamwork, why not find out about local initiatives such as plantingtrees with local conservation groups. Look on the web orat your local library, but if you can’t find a group, you couldalways start your own!
the protection of biodiversity. Tell friends, family,teachers or the person next to you on the bus what you’redoing to encourage biodiversity and why it matters. Educatingyour peers is one of the key solutions to raising a generationthat cares about the future of all life on Earth.
local landowners, fishermen, farmers and busi-nesses to do their bit to protect the species their line ofwork affects. These groups are the main stakeholders whenit comes to protecting biodiversity, and the more they hearfrom the public and consumers (that’s YOU), the more likelythey are to choose to protect it.
the wildlife that already exists. That old log in yourlocal park or garden might just be home to insects, lizards,frogs or other organisms you hadn’t noticed before. Check tosee what species might be there before you disturb anything.

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