Photo: John Griffiths, Flickr/CC BY
If you live in the United States, and you're not a conservation wonk or Harrison Ford, you're likely unaware that there's a massive UN conference in Japan that's seeking to outline a plan for protecting the world's biodiversity. Don't worry, it's not your fault -- the media has by and large ignored this hugely important gathering, deeming instead to focus on far more important stuff like the latest Christine O'Donnell witchcraft/masturbation revelation. Thankfully, Harrison Ford, who's a director for Conservation International when he's not reviving action film franchises, managed to strong arm his way into getting the issue some attention on CNN:
Evidently, however, all that strong-arming must have exhausted him thoroughly -- he's about as enthused an advocate for conservation here as president Obama was for climate action. I should cut him some slack, though -- he's getting some much needed visibility for this issue.
You see, the United States has refused to ratify a 1993 conservation treaty that set up rules for preventing species and habitat loss, though Bill Clinton signed it. For that reason, the US -- the world's biggest consumer and root cause of most of the environmental degradation over the last 20 years -- isn't even showing up. Sounds about right.
The actor Harrison Ford has called on the United States to ratify the international treaty governing conservation and urged consumers everywhere to shop more responsibly in order to limit the impact on the natural world.It is indeed a matter of political will, Mr. Ford. Which is why our Congress can be expected to go on ignoring the global threat of biodiversity loss for, I don't know, another 17 years at least.
Ford was speaking in Nagoya on the fringes of a crucial United Nations conference to establish a global action plan to protect the natural world. But the US - the world's biggest economy and consumer - is not taking a full part in the discussions because Congress has refused to ratify the UN Convention on Biological Diversity that the former president Bill Clinton signed in 1993.
"It's a matter of political will," Ford told the Guardian. "I'm not sure what objections the US has to taking the necessary steps. I know it's difficult to get things through Congress these days, but what needs to be done is have the president prioritise this process of congressional advice and consent on this treaty so we can be signatories."
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