More than ever these days we are becoming increasingly aware of the true meaning of the word “interdependence”. Humans are part of an ecosystem whose dynamics are constantly threatened by anthropic activities.
Taking care and protecting our planet is not a choice: it is a necessity for all humanity. It is already late. We all, citizens, politicians, entrepreneurs, must act immediately. This will perhaps mean changing our development model, our habits, our priorities. But we have to choose it now, or in a few years we will have no choice at all and the events will not find us ready.
Below is a slideshow of our Manifesto with pictures for each article:
(To pause the slideshow, move your mouse on the photo. To resume the slideshow, move your mouse away from the photo area)
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 1.
Climate change, habitat destruction, illegal trade, poaching are increasingly endangering the survival of an estimated 1 million animal and plant species globally. Preventing their extinction is everyone's duty, none excluded: the overall balance of the Earth depends on their well-being and our capacity for responsible action.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 2.
31% of the land area of our planet is covered by forests, which in addition to accommodating 80% of the Earth's biodiversity, produce food and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people. Forests regulate climate, reduce global warming, mitigate the risk caused by extreme climatic events, reduce the occurrence of pandemics and contribute in general to the health and well-being of humanity.
The year 2019 saw fires burning through rainforests on four continents: 12 million hectares of forest lost in the Amazon, 10 million hectares in Australia, 27 thousand hectares in the Congo Basin, over 8 million in the Arctic, 328 thousand hectares between forests and other habitats in Indonesia.
Forest fires are directly related to deforestation: today there remain less than 3 trillion trees on the planet, half as many as when human civilization arose.
We lose 15 billion trees each year, increasing the effect of climate change, reducing the living space for biodiversity and making life more difficult for billions of people. Whoever is responsible for serious crimes against the environment must be held accountable, whether a head of state or a simple citizen.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 3.
Worldwide we produce 320 million tons of meat every year. 80 billion animals are slaughtered for food every year. We need to drastically reduce our meat consumption. We need to do it now. We can do it, we don't need that much animal-sourced protein. Meat production has an unbearable environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water demand. Intensive breeding causes damage to the environment, the animals and our health.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 4.
Every year we catch over 100 million tons of fish, plundering seas and oceans, which we continue to pollute with our plastic and toxic residues. One third of global fish stocks are overexploited, meaning we catch them faster than they can reproduce to sustain population levels. Fish is an important source of food supply, particularly for less developed countries. We must reduce fish consumption and allow time for seas and oceans to repopulate.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 5.
Let’s all consider practicing ethical and responsible tourism. Tourism generates 10.1% of world GDP, it is one of the most important industries of our times, as well as one of the most polluting. It contributes to 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. Every year 1.4 billion people travel for tourism and six out of ten people choose air travel.
As tourism heavily impacts on the environment, we must change our behavior and choose more sustainable forms of traveling, always keeping in mind the extent to which we affect ecosystems in terms of waste production, water consumption, and structural changes of the environment.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 6.
4.5 million premature deaths each year and 2,900 billion dollars, equivalent to 3.3 percent of world GDP, or 8 billion dollars a day. This is the cost of air pollution from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) we are estimated to incur every year. Rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy is critical to avoid climate change catastrophe and limit human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Fossil fuel economy is no longer sustainable. Politics, industry and the economy must immediately invest in renewable energy supply technologies.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 7.
The total world military expenditure has reached the record level of 1.822 billion dollars, equal to 2.1% of world GDP. Arms exports have increased by 8% in ten years, reaching their highest level since the end of the Cold War. We produce and export a “death economy”, and at the same time accept that 820 million people suffer from hunger worldwide, corresponding to about one in every nine people in the world. There is an urgent need to find a way out of the numerous power struggles characterizing contemporary world politics.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 8.
Always, in times of crisis those who suffer the heaviest consequences are the most fragile and economically disadvantaged. An unprecedented number of people today are forced to flee their country: 70.8 million people worldwide. It means that every two seconds a person is forced to leave his home due to conflicts or persecutions. We all have an obligation to ensure their protection because fundamental human rights have no nationality nor borders.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 9.
Millions of women and girls all over the world are daily subject to abuse and violence. There are an estimated 3 million girls at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation every year. Of the world's 796 million illiterate people, over two thirds are women and girls. Defending their right to education means securing them a better future, economic independence and personal freedom.
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 10.
Ethnic-religious minorities around the world continue to face serious threats and discrimination, and are frequently excluded from taking part fully in the economic, political, social and cultural life of the countries or societies where they live. Minorities such as the Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, Rohingya Muslims in Burma, Tibetans, Uyghurs in China are systematically denied the most basic human rights.
There are around 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide, living across 90 countries and representing 5000 diverse cultures. They make up less than 5 per cent of humanity, yet represent around 15 per cent of the world’s poorest people. They share invaluable knowledge and skills in conservation and the sustainable use of land, forests and natural resources. And yet, every day they suffer abuse, harassment, land theft, and genocidal violence. We must stop this!
photo: © Luca Catalano Gonzaga /Witness ImageArticle 11.
The disproportionate allocation of private wealth across the globe has become even more so concentrated over the past decade. This wealth disparity between the world’s wealthiest and the most unfortunate people continues to grow, creating a vast new set of challenges, well beyond health care and hunger. As citizens of the world we all have the responsibility and intrinsic interest to support each other and most importantly the people in need. We call on all wealthy, as well as on the governments, to encounter today’s challenges with targeted financial aid, human capital and sustainable fiscal stimulus.