Feature Story

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Any visitor to southern Chile’s ancient Valdivian rainforest could be excused for missing the tiny and unassuming Barrio’s frog, one of the world’s rarest amphibians.

Blending into the riverbanks and streambeds of its forest home, the frog’s stippled, rust-brown back makes it all but invisible to the untrained eye. Its resonant, drawn-out creaking call is often the only sign of this species on the edge.

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When Bundauda Samasa was a boy, everyone knew to the day when the rains would start and stop sprinkling the fields in The Gambia’s Upper River Region, and what harvest of groundnuts, vegetables, rice and pulses to expect.

Now standing in his bleached, patchy fields skirting Dingiri village as donkeys pick at the odd tufts of straw, kicking up clouds of terracotta dust, 57-year-old Samasa yearns for the days when life was predictable because the seasons didn’t change.   

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By Cecily Joseph, vice president, corporate responsibility, Symantec

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Female revolutionaries and leaders occupied a unique role in Mexico – both in the fight for independence in 1810, and in the Mexican revolution a hundred years later.

The role of women was especially prominent in Querétaro – where the idea of Mexican independence germinated and flowered thanks to the efforts of Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.

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By Naoko Ishii
CEO & Chairperson
Global Environment Facility

It is increasingly evident that women’s involvement and leadership in environmental solutions has often been overlooked and that more must be done to empower women to help deliver successful and long-lasting results for the environment.

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When Mandelena became a mother, she was only 16 years old. During the prolonged dry season in Gwor County, South Sudan over the last two years, Mandelena and her family have been able to eat only one meal per day. In her community, crops are failing, cattle are dying and children are dropping out of school because of hunger. Women and girls walk four to five hours every day to collect water, and young girls are married off for a dowry of cattle as soon as they hit puberty.

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World Wildife Day was first observed in 2014, as a way to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of life in our planet and bring awareness to the ever-growing loss of biodiversity caused by human activities.  This year the theme is “Big Cats: Predators under Threat” and aims to raise awareness and call for action on the importance of these majestic species. Big cats are under severe threat of extinction due to poaching, habitat loss, human wildlife conflict, and climate change impacts. As of today, the world has lost over 90% of its tigers and 40% of its lions.

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The international illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products has reached crisis proportions and is now ranked the fourth largest global illegal activity after drugs, human-trafficking, and arms. We are facing a risk of future generations living in a world deprived of some of its most iconic species. Extinction is forever; we need to act now.

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Big cats are among the most widely recognised and admired animals across the globe.

These charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats; loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with human, poaching, and illegal trade. Tiger populations plummeted by 95% over the past century.

World Wildlife Day 2018 under the theme “Big cats: predators under threat" gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about their plight and to galvanise support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species.

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By Jonathan Horrell, director global sustainability, Mondelēz International

Every day, I watch a microcosm of the battle to protect the global commons taking place outside my garden gate here in England. I live on a common – a traditional British land tenure system where land is privately owned but communally managed. Commoners share the rights and responsibilities of free access to a shared resource.