Our Planet’s Crisis

By Byron Swift
Founder of Natura International

Whose responsibility is it to address the imminent threats of climate change? There is no doubt that governments, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play.

The most serious problem is that the cycles that sustain life on Earth are under threat. We are talking not only about climate change, but about the other natural cycles such as oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. All these cycles originate from what is left of the natural world and provide us with the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we can eat, and a stable climate, among other essential elements. Each of these life cycles is based on its own complex set of resources and interactions, but the basic resource underlying most of them is our planet’s plant biomass, the basis of our living Earth, which is contained around 50% in natural forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and 50% in plankton in the oceans.

Pilcomayo River, Province of Salta – Argentina

Human society is doing everything possible to destroy this living biomass, through actions that lead to desertification, deforestation, and pollution. In short, time is running out for the actions needed to save the planet and its ecosystems.

Yalguaraz Wetland, Uspallata, Province of Mendoza – Argentina

Funding to address critical environmental issues remains low. We are simply not reacting quickly enough or urgently enough. Up to now, human activities have caused the loss of one-third of our natural vegetation since pre-industrial times and 40% of the plankton in the oceans. The rate of destruction is accelerating. We are approaching the end of the game and the time needed to address these issues is almost gone.

Now is the time to act if we want to maintain these essential ecosystems and their global functions, as well as preserve our natural heritage for future generations!

Byron Swift
Founder of Natura International at Natura International | + posts

Byron Swift has worked to help partner groups and governments throughout Latin America create and sustain protected areas, conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, and build capacity in sustainable development and environmental policy. He has worked in almost all countries of the continent to conserve over 14 million acres of rainforests and other critical ecosystems. Byron is currently working with Global Wildlife Conservation. Previously, he has served as President of Nature and Culture International, founder and President of Rainforest Trust, director of the Energy and Innovation Center at the Environmental Law Institute, and head of the United States office of IUCN – the World Conservation Union.