Philippe Mayaux / Team Leader Biodiversity

European Commission, DG International Cooperation and Development / Forestry and Biodiversity

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

I am extremely concerned about the degradation of tropical forests that I have been observing by satellite over the past 30 years. When managing many conservation programs in national parks, I also realised that wildlife is disappearing at a rate never seen before.
Agro-industry is causing massive deforestation, with vast expanses of oil palm, rubber, soybean and cocoa plantations. Poaching, firewood collection and illegal mining are also damaging to African forests. Yet tropical forests are essential for mitigating climate change and conserving exceptional biodiversity, but more importantly, hundreds of millions of people depend on forests for food, water, medicine and thus livelihoods.
Therefore, we need to do everything to protect these ecosystems. Solutions exist and we can act as a citizen, consumer and voter. It is not a question of putting tropical forests under a bell, but of managing them sustainably for the benefit of local communities and the global population.
As individual consumers, I can reject agricultural goods coming from deforested land, even indirectly like the beef fed in Europe with soybeans of Brazil. But we must also push our politicians to change drastically the food system at global level, that should be less based on global exchanges by big companies and more on small local farmers. Farmers are key for adopting greener agricultural practices and produce healthy food. Of course, the current system, consuming more energy and destroying humans, is well in place and massively benefits from publicity and lobbying.
Our personal leverage for provoking the change is our behaviour: eat less meat, travel by bike in city and by train for longer distance, eliminate plastic, reduce travels by more skype… I’ve started to do it and I really feel better in my mind and my body. It is not always simple to change his habits. In particular when participating to international conventions on other continents, which is a huge paradox.
Finally, as one among 8 million species on Earth, we must change our relationship with nature. Our survival depends on it. The trees can survive without the humans; humans cannot survive without the trees.
Let’s be more social, more ecological, more human…