Cultivate Issue 26 - Climate change countdown
Number 26 - October 2009
Since the term climate change is used so much these days, there's a risk of 'climate change fatigue' amongst the general public as well as those working in biodiversity conservation. Unfortunately, some of the latest research to be published indicates that the reality of climate change is running ahead of model predictions in many cases and in line with the high end emissions scenarios mapped out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
So there's an imperative for botanic gardens to work towards maintaining diverse ecosystems as well as using their incredible outreach potential to educate about the realities of climate change and what must be done to avoid the worst case scenarios.
From 7 - 18 December this year, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will descend on Copenhagen to wrangle over the details of a new global climate deal - a successor to the Kyoto Protocol (which expires at the end of 2012).
As such, the meeting in Copenhagen, CoP 15, presents an historic opportunity to strengthen the international response to global climate change and agree a framework that ensures that all major economies contribute equitably to averting catastrophic climate change.
Botanic gardens can play their part - there are several international campaigns which need support. You can read more on our homepage story, containing many links for further information about the UNFCCC protocols and to resources for climate change education.
Working individually and collectively botanic gardens are in a strong position to help address the primary conservation and development challenges of our time: biodiversity loss and climate change.
Our new training course 'International Certificate in Botanic Garden Management in the Asia Pacific Region' covers major present-day themes of practical conservation work in botanic gardens, such as: developing and implementing collection policies, botanic garden horticulture, ex situ conservation tools and approaches and links to in situ conservation in times of global change, managing education and public awareness, effective interpretation and, partnerships for multi-stakeholder engagement in conservation.
As the work remits of botanic gardens around the world develop in line with current conservation thinking and community needs, BGCI's capacity building work will develop to draw together best practice and facilitate knowledge share between botanic gardens.
Arguably, as the world gets smaller and faces collective environmental problems botanic garden networks are becoming increasingly important.
You can read about the 2nd International Conference on Cooperation between botanic gardens in the Baltic Sea region here, which saw BGCI involved in discussions about how to fundraise in times of global change.
The first ever botanic garden network in Chile was constituted on 2 September. More than 50 representatives from botanic gardens, reserves, universities, and non-governmental organisations gathered just outside Santiago, to express their desire to work more collaboratively for plant conservation and environmental education.
And in November the South East Asia Botanic Garden Network (SEABGN) meet in Taiwan, also for the 2nd time. BGCI will be there launching our newly translated education for climate change pack in Chinese (Mandarin) and Spanish. Look out for these new resources on our website in mid-November. Since Chinese, English and Spanish are three of the top four most spoken languages in the world we hope that millions of children will be engaged by these fantastic resources.
It's encouraging that botanic gardens and institutions are getting together and finding ways of working together on collective solutions to common problems.
Best wishes until next time,
Belinda and all at BGCI
Issue 26,October 2009