From 11th to 16th September 2022, the world’s largest environmental partnership meeting was held at Cambridge, UK. BirdLife International celebrated its 100th anniversary with its 115 partner organisations around the globe.
The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) is the BirdLife partner in Sierra Leone. Being part of this global family reinforces the feeling of the power of many in our daily work, and even more at international congresses like the one in Cambridge. For two years, members of the BirdLife family could only meet online. It was good to meet friends and partners from around the world again personally to exchange ideas, share challenges and develop solutions together. One might be tempted to suggest BirdLife’s focus on birds alone. But this is not so; the work of the partner organisations is as diverse as the eco-systems of places are. Our partner from Spain shared their success in protecting biodiversity together with farmers through a win-win for all parties involved. In South America, BirdLife partners have developed a scheme with cattle herders to protect unique grasslands. The Gola Rainforest was mentioned in many sessions as a positive example of rainforest conservation and community involvement from West Africa. BirdLife´s 10 years strategy is built on four pillars: Species, Sites, Systems and Society. We aim to protect species and habitats through the change of systems and together with the people.
To save biodiversity, BirdLife partners around the globe work with community members, civil society and government. Climate change is the biggest threat to our civilization. None of us can win the battle alone. We only have a chance if people all around the globe work towards the same goal: saving biodiversity and nature. With the temperature raise and the raise of sea level, many places on earth will not be habitable anymore. The scientific data proves that, this is not just a bad version of the future that might happen, but it is a fact. This is the future which is waiting for us only some years ahead. People will have to move and find new places to live. Animals and plants will have to move to find a climate they can survive with. The question is: will we all manage to do so?
Climate change and its consequences were topics throughout the congress. Climate change is happening now. With the current climate change and destruction of nature, we are witnessing the third mass extinction of species on earth. Habitats are destroyed every minute; chemicals pollute water in rivers and lakes and make them a threat for health of people and animals; plastic waste in the oceans is killing fishes, whales, sea turtles and other living creatures in the seas. “100 years of history, 10 years to act, 1 year to inspire”, was the theme of the BirdLife International Congress.
Despite the alarming facts and the serious state of the world’s future, the partners are sure that if we act as one, we can still make a change. There are also good news; several species were saved from extinction through the efforts of BirdLife International partners in different countries of the world; some species are recovering, ecosystems can be restored over time. But this will not happen without a lot of effort from each and every one of us, with full commitment to the goal to conserve nature for animals, plants and people.
We believe in the power of many. We are many; but we have to become more!
If you want to support our work and be part of the global family to save the planet, become a member of CSSL today: