The planet does not wait

Zempoala National Park

Zempoala National Park, Mexico. (© Jessica Scranton)

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in the September issue of Vogue Mexico. Read the post in Spanish here.

Recent images of plastic pollution in our oceans have shocked the world. The global president of Conservation International, Jennifer Morris, talks exclusively with Vogue about the main environmental problems and the urgency of passing the call to action.

Conservation International is a titan with presence in 30 countries and three decades of work for the environment. Recently, the organization was in the news for the success of its campaign Nature is Speaking, in which the voices of famous figures such as Salama Hayek, Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts, among many others, represent some of the natural resources to convey the message: Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature. “We’ve had an incredible response from people. We have launched videos in nine languages ​​thanks to the support of many celebrities, many women because we wanted to represent nature as a generator of life,” says the global president of Conservation International, Jennifer Morris.

Question: What is the greatest urgency in environmental terms that we face at this time?

Answer: Climate change is the easiest answer. At Conservation International, we are focused on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. But there are associated issues that are fundamental to achieving a substantial change, such as the way we produce food, coffee, soap. We are destroying the planet with the production of basic products. To give you an example, if we solve the problem of reforestation worldwide, we would contribute 30 percent in solving climate change.

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Q: The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world. Have you had an approach? What is your message for brands and consumers?

A: We are not working directly with the fashion industry, but we support initiatives that promote the production of a better cotton, with a process that reduces the use of water and pesticides. My message to all consumers is to check the labels of the clothes they wear, they buy, analyze the way that clothing was made and send letters and tweets so that these companies commit to sustainable production practices. Companies often listen when their consumers talk. I am convinced that fashion could be a leader in sustainability issues.

The Mexico chapter of the organization works to stop the deforestation of the Water Forest, responsible for 70 percent of the water sources in the Valley of Mexico, which provides water to 23 million people. They also celebrate the carbon tax implemented in Costa Rica and Colombia. It’s a great tool to change people’s behavior.

José Luis Ávila is a writer for Vogue México. Jennifer Morris is the president of Conservation International. This post was translated to English by Carmen Noriega, regional communications manager for the Conservation International Americas Field Division.

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