By Ann Colley
As the scientific, philanthropic, and business communities gather in New York City this week for Climate Week 2023, we will be focusing our attention on organizations and initiatives that are considering climate change through the lens of biodiversity.
Philanthropic and private-sector investments in conserving biodiverse ecosystems are critical to maintaining ecological balance, protecting endangered species, and promoting the health of land, water, and forests. In turn, these healthy landscapes conserve water, improve soil health, moderate temperature, protect from extreme weather events, and sequester significant amounts of carbon to help reduce climate change and promote resilience.
The Moore Charitable Foundation has the privilege of collaborating with many of the best and brightest in conservation. Through a local philanthropy strategy, we support scientists and environmental advocates who see first-hand the threats to their regional ecosystems and who identify the opportunities to address those threats. For #ClimateWeek2023, I wanted to highlight a few of our biodiversity and conservation champions who continue to make great strides:
- The Leatherback Project, led by the indomitable Callie Veelenturf, conserving endangered sea turtles through satellite tagging, research, and education and is creating a wildlife refuge around Panama’s Saboga Island — a biodiversity hotspot. Callie is a leader in the “Rights of Nature” movement; in 2020 she proposed a law that was enacted in 2022 when the president of Panama signed legal protections to nature. This week, she brings her advocacy to New York. Read more on Callie here.
- Oceans 5, an international funders collaborative, works to protect some of the most biodiverse ecosystems — our oceans — by supporting efforts to stop overfishing, establish marine protected areas (MPAs), and constrain offshore oil and gas development — three of the highest priorities identified by marine scientists around the world.
- The Shark Conservation Fund is restoring ocean health through sweeping shark and ray conservation. Its visionary Shark Biodiversity Initiative (SBI) is an effort enhance conservation impact through the establishment and enforcement of MPAs designed to benefit sharks and rays.
- The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)’s support for the 2023 Our Oceans Conference, hosted by the Republic of Panama, was instrumental in the country’s commitment to expand the Banco Volcán Managed Resources Area in the Panamanian Caribbean to 36,058 square miles, protecting 54% of its waters based on STRI-led science. This action will safeguard unique resources, buffer climate change, and support indigenous communities.
Maintaining the health of our diverse ecosystems is an effective, natural solution to capturing carbon, improving climate, supporting communities, and protecting our environment for generations to come.