March 2012, A Connection World


The internet revolution, new social media, smartphones; our planet has never “turned” so fast! Unfortunately, it has also never been so abused as it is today


A “helping wing” from a little eco-detective sparrow will reveal how everything is linked. The economic development of a number of countries, China in particular, is beyond imagination. Chinese consumption is sky-rocketing, leading to an enormous threat on biodiversity. Due to an increased demand for medicinal, gastronomic, and luxury decorative products, tigers, panthers, rhinoceros, elephants, bears, turtles, pangolins, etc. (the list is very long) are exterminated. This word is not too extreme when we know that, in Africa, more than one rhinoceros is killed every day. And we haven't even touched on how wood consumption is devastating tropical forests.


It would be easy to put all the blame on the Chinese, except that in France we are living with only a couple of wolves, maybe a dozen bears in the Pyrenees, and the rare lynx. To act sustainably, it is not only important to educate the populations in concerned regions in Africa or Asia, but also to accompany Chinese youth in an environmental dynamic to increase awareness of the impact of their country on the ecological future of our planet. These youth will then be capable of becoming leaders in world conservation, with positive effects in their country as well as the rest of the world.


Eco-Sys Action, of which I am the ambassador, strives to respond to this double necessity. Several projects have been undertaken in this sense. The Eco-Sys Action Football Cup (EAFC) in Beijing which met with great success (see the poster that surprised everyone and resulted in numerous questions from parents and children) is an example. I can assure you that my Chinese friends only ask to learn and to move their country to the front of the environmental scene. Eco-Sys Action also supports a number of projects with organizations that prioritize educational, social, and economic activities, such as Awely, des Eléphants et des Hommes, the Snow Leopard Trust, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya, Lion Guardians, etc.


And new technology? Well, it can help spread positive messages, link projects, and connect activities with youth as a common denominator. It's at this participative speed that a better balance can be reached and several critically endangered species can be saved.



Lewa, Kenya, November 2010


Sad trip


Stumpy, my friend the Black Rhinoceros, was killed last night.  Savagely massacred by poachers who gave her no chance. After having also injured her one and a half year old baby (who is now doing better), they cut off her horn which will likely be sent to China to be made into powder to be used in traditional Chinese medicine. 


Stumpy was 41 years old and gave birth to eight babies during her life.  She is the third rhinoceros to be killed in Lewa in the past year, the first in the entire history of the reserve.  Proof that 2010 was a terrible year for rhinoceros in Africa. The numbers are unbelievable. The projection is that by the end of the year more than 300 rhinos will be killed in South Africa, practically one a day!  Zimbabwe is also affected and Kenya has had around 20 cases. 


Why?  Because each gram of horn is more expensive than gold!  Chinese demand is increasing and people continue to believe that rhinoceros horn can cure maladies like cancer, which is totally false.  Lewa is going to further reinforce security in this “war of the rhinos,” and continue it's work with the local population. 


It is also crucial to educate the population of China.  In 5 or 10 years there will be even more people that have the financial means to purchase these products and the demand for rhinoceros horn and elephant tusks will increase.  This is a problem that must be attacked from all sides.  As long as the demand is high there will be poachers ready to make some “easy” money. 


Today another Black Rhinoceros was born at Lewa, like a symbol of resilience of a fragile species whose future is in the hands of Man.  In South Africa, many schools have already taken action to “say no to poaching.”  The dream is to have the same type of program in Hong Kong and China.  I can promise you that this dream will become a reality in the coming years, bird's word!   




Sakya, China, October 2010


Hands of hope


Ten thousand hands rising under a magnificent blue sky, 10 000 times more hope for snow leopards.  Perched on one of the prayer flags, a lungta, that are strung everywhere in this area and colour the mountainsides, I help with the promise of the people reunited here during this annual Buddhist festival: protect snow leopards and do not engage in illegal trade of wild animals. 


In the high Tibetan plateaus, this ceremony is welcomed by snow panthers, still victims of poaching for their bones and skin.  The protection of this remarkable animal and it's prey is urgent.  Thanks to the cooperation of the Snow Leopard Trust and the Shan Shui Conservation Center, moments like today are great steps towards better educating the local population. 


China represents 60% of snow leopard habitat between Qinghai, Tibet and Gansu, and is home to close to 40% of the total population.  Interestingly, few Chinese know of their existence and it is rare to find someone who knows that this feline is native to their immense country. 


Now lets imagine 10 000, 10 000 hands lifting in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and throughout the country...; China will become the heart of conservation for snow leopards and other threatened species, with a strong message to the entire world.  Protecting its national treasure will become, little by little, second nature and it is now, with these hands almost touching the sky, that victory is built.  





Qingdao, China, October 2010


China's role


The 2008 Olympic Games have long been over, the sailboat races are only a distant memory, but crowds of tourists continue to flock to the seashore at Qingdao, a large city situated in the Northeast of China on the Yellow Sea. 


Flying over these few hundred meters of beach, I can't help but think of the over exploitation of our oceans with the thousands of shells and marine turtles sold as decorations, and even tiny living fish sold in plastic key chains.  I also reflect on the difficulties of the fishermen, who are now no more than circus animals trying to flaunt their meager catch under the cameras of passing tourists. 


My feathers freeze at the thought of so much proof confirming the uncertain future of our oceans!  It is not a toy, we do not own it and it does not contain infinite resources.  I would like to loudly chirp my dissatisfaction but before throwing accusations, it is necessary to explain and above all it is necessary to do better ourselves. 


So I whispered the story of the oceans to a few attentive youth; one day I will show them Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud's film, “Oceans” with it's breathtaking images which arouse so many positive emotions, simply by showing the beauty of the marine world, its power and its fragility. 


In China, like elsewhere, the youth are ready to take up the fight.  The just need to be made aware of the problems, the solutions as well.  They will find them too, I am sure.  Daniel, one of the region's youth, wants to hep me.  He is studying in Shanghai and with his friends he hopes to make a difference.  He loves nature and his country.  He is responsible. 


Him, his friends, others, behind a little ball of orange feathers, I chase my black ideas like the accidental pollution a bit further North in Dalian, and take to the sky again, confident in my dream to create eco-centers in China where the youth can go to learn about the fragile balance between nature and Man. 


China has an exceptional role to play in the future of our planet, and this new generation has the possibility to put their country in a model position. 





World Conference on Sports and Environment, Beijing, China, October 2007



Eco-Sys Action was invited by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to this conference jointly organised by UNEP, the Olympic Committee and Bocog, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games.


Participants from all over the world exchanged ideas and experiences on how sporting events can become sustainable. Speeches from the Torino Organizing Committee and Rio de Janeiro 2007 PanAmerican Games Committee were among the most interesting. In his keynote address, Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC reminded everyone of the need for sport to be more meaningful and environment-friendly.


With the upcoming first Eco-Sys Action International Conservation Football Cup (ICFC) in 2009, the conference was a gathering not to be missed and everyone showed interest in the ICFC format.


Visits to a Beijing school promoting sustainable development and to the Olympic village were scheduled to help understand Beijing's efforts towards supporting the environment in spite of a heavy fog covering the city that reminded every participant of the huge pollution affecting China's capital.



All Post
Indonesia Hong Kong India Qatar Africa (By Flight) Burkina Faso Botswana Purple Cake Day Happy World Sparrow Day! A Connected World The battle of the cheetahs Passion to Live Scubster, from dream to dive. The world's rarest shark! The Eco-Sys Action Football Cup (EAFC) in Kaw, French Guiana wins the Jean Roland Prize. A wink from Jean-Pierre Papin
See More