Climate Action

“Pledge for Life” Campaign for COP 11 Engages India’s Youth in Protecting Biodiversity

Earth Day Network is supporting the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11) with the campaign “Pledge for Life.”  COP 11 will be held October 8-19 in Hyderabad, India. The campaign will focus on educating young people in India about the need to preserve biodiversity and then getting them to sign a pledge to do something about it. The aim is to have two million pledges in time for the opening of the COP in Hyderabad. The pledges will also count toward A Billion Acts of Green®. You can view the pledge in 12 different languages and sign it here. Pledge for Life is supported by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, the National Biodiversity Authority of India, and Paryavaran Mitra, a campaign that helps young people become “green ambassadors.” India is one of the 17 mega biodiversity countries. It has two global biodiversity hotspots – the Western Ghats and Northeast India – and many other ecologically important areas teeming with flora and fauna. As noted in the Biodiversity Action Plan of the Government of India, “India is known for its rich heritage of biological diversity, having already documented over 91,000 species of animals and 45,500 species of plants in its ten bio-geographic regions. Nearly 6,500 native plants are still used prominently in indigenous healthcare systems. Thousands of locally-adapted crop varieties, grown traditionally since ancient times, and nearly 140 native breeds of farm livestock, continue to thrive in its diversified farming systems. The country is recognized as one of the eight Vavilovian Centres of Origin and Diversity of  Crop Plants, having more than 300 wild ancestors and close relatives of cultivated plants still growing and evolving under natural conditions.” This rich biodiversity is at risk as pressures of a 1.2 billion-person population grow and more and more land is developed. For example, India’s forest cover is already down to a mere 23 percent. The Pledge For Life Campaign will help educate India’s youth about the role they can play in protecting this important natural heritage.