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Are we changing life on Earth
Video transcript Are we changing life on Earth? 23rd April 2007 Washington D.C., U.S.A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLqNHerkZsM Contact: Katie Frohardt Executive Director Fauna & Flora International, Inc. P.O. Box 42575 Washington, D.C. 20015-0575 U.S.A. +1 202 329 672 firstname.lastname@example.org Video transcript: Are we changing life on Earth Are we changing life on Earth? 23rd April 2007 Washington D.C., U.S.A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLqNHerkZsM Melissa Shackleton Dann: Good evening everyone my name is Melissa Shackleton Dann and I’m the Chair of the Board of Fauna & Flora International, the U.S. board. And it is wonderful to see so many of you here this evening. I think though most of us are really here to see Sir David Attenborough. It is a real joy to be able to share an evening with him and hear some of his reflections about the conservation world that he has so influenced. I’m going to turn the podium over to Katie Frohardt who is the Executive Director of the U.S. operation – with great pleasure – and she will provide some more introduction. (Applause) Katie Frohardt: Thank you so much and thanks to each and every one of you for joining us tonight for such a special celebration of international conservation with Sir David Attenborough. I first learned of the work of Fauna & Flora International more than ten years ago when I was based in Rwanda running a mountain gorilla program – one of our longest running programs. This is a program that Sir David actually started many years ago motivating our earliest efforts to protect the mountain gorillas and creating the program that I later directed in Rwanda post the 1994 genocide. In Rwanda, I learned first hand of FFI’s very collaborative approach to conservation, working in partnership with local and national organizations, and embracing the tough – but right – challenge of building local capacity so that conservation efforts are locally driven and locally held. Listing Sir David’s accomplishments would have me up here for far too long; last year he was voted the most trusted celebrity in Britain and in the top ten “heroes of our time.” (Laughter) I had to. I had to. His Life television series, which is made up of more than 74 programs, is still in production and Life in Cold Blood (reptiles and amphibians) is due to air in 2008. The pioneer of nature documentaries, David has attracted more than 500 million viewers worldwide, bringing us all his powerful images of wildlife and people, and inspiring us with opportunities and the challenges that protecting our fragile planet presents. Conservation literacy blossomed as Sir David broadcast from those special places in far corners of the earth. Sir David’s strong leadership of FFI as Vice-President has been instrumental in guiding so many of our programs, so it is my great honor to introduce him to you tonight so that he may share his thoughts on “Are We Changing Life on Earth?” Please join me in welcoming to Washington, DC, Sir David Attenborough. 2 Video transcript: Are we changing life on Earth (Applause) Sir David Attenborough: Fifty years ago the world was very very different place. I was a young television producer and I decided I wanted to start making natural history films. I went to the London Zoo and, since I didn’t know anything about Africa or Asia or anything else except Britain, I thought there would be somebody there who might help me to find my way through the natural world. And, indeed there was a marvelous man who was Curator of Reptiles called Jack Lester. And together we cooked up an idea which would be absolute anathema today. We decided that we would go from the London Zoo to catch animals in the wild and bring them back to the London Zoo. Now in these days you wouldn’t dream of doing that. Responsible zoos breed their animals. Responsible zoos know perfectly well that the stock of animals in the wild is limited. It is not infinite. We went to Madagascar. I tried to find out about Madagascar from the French and there was no film – no natural history film at all – at all – made in Madagascar. And those wonderful ranges of Lemurs which we’ve seen, and which tourists can visit today, had never been seen on television And, I’ve had all my life a passion for birds of paradise. And nobody 50 years ago had filmed wild birds of paradise displaying in the wild. One of the great mind-blowing experiences, scenes of the natural world. It took us three months before we managed it and we walked into valleys where no Europeans had been before and it was an extraordinary unforgettable time. How things have changed today. A mere 50 years. And why? There is one huge change that has taken place in those 50 years. And that is that there are more than twice as many human beings on this planet today as there were then. There were just something over 2 billion in 1954 now there are more than 6.5 billion. And the consequences, of course, of that change have been enormous. This huge expansion in human beings has also demonstrated a very extraordinary fact of homo sapiens which is that the homo sapiens love to aggregate. It loves to live together. And thank goodness because if it didn’t – if we didn’t – there’d be no wilderness. If we all demanded five hectares or whatever it is, we wouldn’t be able to exist. But the consequences of that is that the majority of the population of this planet – something like 80% are urbanized and 80% are getting further and further away from the natural world. Another consequence of this huge expansion of our human numbers has been climate change, which you’ve all heard about and that brings more problems. We have a responsibility to make sure that people know about the natural world. And paradoxically they do. People know more about animals on this planet today than they have ever done before. Even though they are less in touch with it. But unless they are in touch with it, they won’t care and they won’t do what is necessary in their own lives and with their own governments and with their own money to conserve that which lies beyond the cities’ limits. My feeling is that the Fauna & Flora International has become one of key societies the in the world. It was, in its time, a pioneer. It was in fact the first international conservation body. Its role, its importance, its value has grown and grown and grown over the 50 years that I’ve known it and the 100 years it has existed. And it has never been greater than it is today. So all of you who are joining this great movement to protect the natural world in 3 Video transcript: Are we changing life on Earth whatever way we can thank – you very much. Your work could have never been more important. Thank you. Applause Mark Rose (CEO of Fauna & Flora International): Well in wrapping up I would just like to say thank you to everybody here tonight. And not just for coming – I’ve noticed we’ve got in the room tonight not only sponsors and donors, but partners and collaborators from a broad range of constituencies – all of whom have an input into the work we do. So thank you all for that. But I’d also like thank Sir David himself for coming. I think we all recognize what he does as his day job, which is to work tirelessly at producing the best quality television and film presentations most of which he produces and presents all himself with a dedicated team, but also he’s been moonlighting all these years as well. He’s had another job. And that’s to help organizations such Fauna & Flora Preservation Society – FFI as it is today – move ahead, get ahead, influence, gain ground. He’s done that for us for the last 50 years since he’s been involved with us. So I’d just like to say a big thank you to Sir David for that. He doesn’t have to do it. He does in the interest of conservation, conservation of our planet. So thank you Sir David. (Applause) Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world's longest established international conservation body, founded over 100 years ago. Renowned for its science-based approach, FFI has pioneered sustainable conservation work that tackles problems holistically, providing solutions that simultaneously help wildlife, humans and the environment. FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, are based on sound science and take account of human needs. www.fauna-flora.org 4
"Are we changing life on Earth"