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Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010

Demand convention ratification, Harrison Ford urges U.S. voters


Staff writer

Hollywood superstar and conservationist Harrison Ford on Thursday called on the United States to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, saying increasing biodiversity loss makes it imperative that Americans understand the importance of the treaty.

News photo
Leading man: Harrison Ford is interviewed in Nagoya Thursday. COURTESY OF CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL

"If American voters are aware of the critical nature of biodiversity, they will impress upon their leadership that (ratification) is an important political requirement," Ford said in an interview with The Japan Times. Ford is visiting COP10 in his capacity as vice chairman of Conservation International, a Washington-based nonprofit.

Ford pointed to public education on environmental issues as the key to mustering political will on ratification. Too many people, he said, were confused about the meaning of biodiversity because environmentalists had spent too much time promoting one endangered species or another rather than looking at the system as a whole.

"It's part of the failure of the environmental community. We all concentrated on our different issues. We approached these problems on a species by species, or issue by issue basis. But there is an increasing awareness of that fact that the science is telling the world it must do something quickly," he said.

Ford noted the Japanese government has taken the lead on the biodiversity issue in a number of ways.

"They've stepped up to the plate on funding for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund eight years ago, becoming the first national contributor," he said. CEPF provides grants for nongovernmental and private-sector organizations to help protect biodiversity hot spots, and the planet's most biologically rich yet threatened areas.

Conservation International is a partner in the Satoyama Initiative, which Ford, who has worked in the U.S. and Latin America to preserve forests, expressed his support for.

"Satoyama is a cultural aesthetic and sensitivity that is much to be admired. There is an understanding of the value of nature in it," he said.



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