Photo: Jamile de Medeiros e Silva

LIMA, PERU- While attending the 2014 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP20) to present the film Amazon Gold, Amazon Aid Foundation president Sarah duPont delivered a petition of over 7,000 signatures to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres in her private office of the COP20 venue with students from Colegio Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American School in Lima, the School of Environmental Studies at the Minnesota Zoo, as well as Reality Leader and No Planeta B director Yoca Arditi-Rocha

The petition, organized by duPont and Amazon Aid staff member Heather Mytelka during a trek through the Peruvian Amazon, called for greater emphasis on protection of the Amazon as well as forests worldwide in the development of effective global climate change policy by United Nations member parties. With just three weeks time, the petition collected over 7,000 signatures from students around the world who want to the delegates to COP20 to act on climate by protecting the Amazon.

For next year’s conference in Paris, Figueres is hoping to see at least 1 million students raising their voices for the rainforest.

See the petition text below:

Dear Christiana Figueres,
I am a concerned citizen raising my voice because I am troubled by the health of one of our Earth’s most beautiful natural resources, the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon is one of the most important land ecosystems for mitigating the effects of climate change and with every tree cut down we put ourselves at risk. Our planet is at a tipping point and all of our futures are at stake. 20 percent of all global carbon emissions are from the burning of trees, more than the total amount emitted from cars, planes, and trains combined. Trees produce the oxygen we breathe and pull in and store carbon from the atmosphere in their roots, trunks, branches and leaves. By cutting down and burning trees not only are we releasing dangerous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, but we are also destroying one of our best natural defenses against climate change. We are killing the very things that are protecting us.
Keeping the Amazon rainforest standing is one of the most important actions we can take to secure a healthy future for all. Some experts have said that we need approximately 80 percent of the trees standing to continue the water cycle and weather patterns that influence the climate of the Amazon and subsequently our planet. Currently, the Amazon has 81 percent of the trees standing. We are getting dangerously close to altering a stable ecosystem that moderates our global climate.
Forests benefit everyone and it is our responsibility to safeguard them. For this reason, I ask that our global leaders take initiative to protect the forests of the Amazon and worldwide. It is imperative that standing forests are placed at the forefront in developing and implementing effective climate change policy.