Tree Puppets

A serious instance of physical activism (as opposed to cyberactivism) at the COP:

Towering Tree Ambassadors Call for Anti-Deforestation Measures To Be Added to Climate Change Convention

Washington DC, USA – November 29, 2005 – Trees will arise at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Canada from 1pm to 2pm, to draw attention to continuing extreme levels of tropical deforestation worldwide. The large tree puppets – some as high as 4 meters – will call attention to the lack of resources in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) & and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) to halt tropical deforestation. Tropical deforestation is the leading cause of species extinctions worldwide and emits 20% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Sadly, even though tropical deforestation is a proximate cause of biodiversity loss and global warming, neither UN treaty has made progress in halting the 25 million acres of tropical forest destruction each year.

The trees will gather in front of the UN meetings and negotiators will be encouraged to come and “listen to the trees”. Then, several large puppets representing the UN Treaties will come out from the UN talks and fail to notice that a large Axe-Machine is cutting all the trees. The trees will then call on diplomats to pass a vote in favor of more help for the world’s diminishing rainforests. Several high-level delegates, including the Honorable Robert Aisi, Papua New Guinea’s ambassador to the UN and lead negotiator to the FCCC, will address the press at a press conference marking the end of the parade at 2pm. Other speakers include Beatrice Ahimbisibwe, Ugandan schoolteacher and international carbon consultant; John O. Niles, project manager for the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance; and Ole Patenya Yusuf, Masai and community organizer.

The Tree Pageant will be filmed, and a satellite-uplink will be immediately available to the 1,000 reporters covering the CBD and FCCC talks at: The pageant will be held from 1pm to 2pm at the corner on St Antoine St, between St Urbain and Rue de Bleury. In addition, several large tree puppets will be on display at the Palais des congrès on November 28th and the morning of November 29th.

While the trees make their statement outside, inside the UN negotiations a coalition of ten countries will be making the same argument, albeit diplomatically. The Coalition of Rainforest Nations (comprising: Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, and Bolivia) has submitted agenda item #6 of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the FCCC. This agenda item requests that FCCC negotiators redouble their efforts to find solutions to tropical deforestation. Specifically, it calls for the FCCC to consider how financial incentives generated by the treaty could be used to help conserve tropical forests.

Twenty-five million acres of rainforests are destroyed each year. In addition to the environmental harm of species extinctions and greenhouse gas pollution, this destruction wreaks havoc on the lives of rural poor throughout the world. It causes air and water pollution, soil erosion and the loss of critical ecosystem services that local people have relied on for generations.

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