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Peter Seligmann

Peter Seligmann

Posted: April 22, 2010 10:33 AM

Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so it's fitting that President Obama is addressing Wall Street today on the challenge of the economy; nothing could be more appropriate on Earth Day. Think about it - illegal logging in tropical forests around the world, mostly driven by Chinese demand is causing lost jobs in Montana and across the American West. At the same time, a leading technology company like Applied Materials in Silicon Valley investing in new energy technologies is opening new factories and hiring thousands of engineers in China instead of here in the United States. The environment and the economy are fundamentally the same issue.

This idea of the environment equating to jobs and opportunity applies to the US, but it's also central to developing nations. I have just returned from Rwanda. Rwanda's enlightened President Paul Kagame understands that green economies are the future His country, about the size of Maryland, with a population of 10 million and predicted to grow to roughly 22 million in the next ten years, was once a synonym for catastrophe. But he has managed to take his country's natural assets, its extraordinary forests, and its majestic wildlife such as the mountain gorilla and make these the bedrock of his country's economic rebirth. Always committed to the important role that the private sector can play in driving sustainable practices, Conservation International is proud to be working with our longstanding corporate partners such as Starbucks and SC Johnson who are also committed to helping President Kagame move his country forward in a way that protects nature for the good of people, and we're excited about the possibilities for renewal and regeneration that green and blue economies have for the world.

The economy and the environment are two sides to the same coin: fundamentally both are about human wellbeing. Everyone on this planet needs the economic opportunity to live well. Living well, or even merely living, is impossible without fertile soils and pollination for agriculture, adequate supplies of fresh water, clean air, and a stable climate. The goals of prosperity and sustainability can only be met together. Our society urgently needs to come to the realization that people can only thrive when nature does.

So on the 40th Anniversary of Earth we are proud to be part of the Green Auction - a groundbreaking cross sector collaboration that is hosted by Christie's whose proceeds will go to supporting four great non-profits that are committed to smart science, pragmatic policy action and real results - Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, NRDC, and Oceana. We are deeply grateful to Harrison Ford, vice chair of Conservation International's Board, for lending his earnest voice to help us highlight the urgency of the environmental crises facing our world today and to drive support for the Green Auction.

Join us and make a bid to save the earth; for just $10 dollars you can support the Green Auction and the work of these great organizations. Text: GoGreen to phone number 20222