Congratulations to our partners at Global Wildlife Conservation who are tackling deforestation along with four other leading environmental organizations through the Forests for Life Partnership.
On September 20th, The Turtle Conservancy joined local demonstrations in Ojai, Washington DC, Berlin and New York City to participate in the Global Climate Strikes—a worldwide mobilization of an estimated four million people in over 160 countries. The youth-led demonstrations, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, aimed to call out governments for their lack of urgency in addressing the climate crisis—and to cultivate a movement demanding an equitable transition to renewable energy.
Scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit and Climate Week, New York City was the epicenter of the demonstrations where over 250,000 people took to the streets on the first day. It seems just about every environmental organization descended upon the city to present and discuss policies to address the climate crisis.
On September 25th the TC team in NYC was privileged to attend a rally announcing the Forests For Life Partnership between five leading environmental organizations including our colleagues at Global Wildlife Conservation. Forests For Life has already pledged over 50 million dollars towards halting and reversing forest degradation worldwide, with more to come.
As many of our supporters will know, the unique biology of turtles makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Due to their limited dispersal ability, populations may struggle to endure rapidly changing resource availability, even at a local level. On top of that, many species of turtles have temperature-dependent sex determination. Meaning, a developing embryo will become male or female based on the temperature of the egg. One can easily imagine how this reproductive trait can significantly alter the sex ratios in a population, which can lead to long-term consequences. This effect has already been observed in nature, but its exact impacts on turtle population dynamics are far from clear.
By protecting critical habitat for threatened turtle species around the globe, the TC has been able to address the effects of climate change on turtles in two significant ways. First, by protecting wild, functioning ecosystems, we maintain vital carbon sinks that keep CO2 out of the atmosphere. Secondly, the more critical habitat we protect, the better we can ensure that there are sufficient refugia for populations to utilize as ecosystems become altered by climate change. To date, the TC has protected well over 60,000 acres (24,000 hectares) of land.
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read about how each of our programs protects turtles and tortoises worldwide and consider donating to the TC. The climate crisis and the extinction crisis go hand in hand, and we are working towards a future where both endangered species and their endangered ecosystems are preserved for generations to come. Whether or not you can donate, stay informed about the climate crisis, adjust your personal lifestyle to reduce and minimize your carbon impact, and demand action from those with the power to implement it. We cannot wait any longer.