Today’s world faces formidable challenges: overdevelopment, polluted air and water, and rising sea levels from climate change are threatening the natural balance between humans and our planet. When The Nature Conservancy was founded in 1951, the world’s population was 2.6 billion; today, it has more than doubled, and will reach 9 billion by 2050.
Our growing needs for food, water and energy are straining the natural systems we depend on. Wildlife and the world’s most inspiring natural places are threatened, and so are we: our way of life, and our ability to survive these changes, dangles by a thread. Become a Conservation Champion by starting your monthly gift today.You’ll join the world’s most ambitious effort to protect our planet, improving our quality of life in Hong Kong and around the world, today and in the future.
Even though some of these threats originate beyond the shores of Hong Kong, we are nevertheless affected. By protecting the vitality of the world’s forests, rivers, and oceans, we can improve the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat — right here in Hong Kong. The Nature Conservancy and partners like you are mobilized in the world’s most ambitious effort to protect the vital lands and waters we all depend on — for today, and for future generations. Uniting scientists, local communities, one million individual supporters, and governments and businesses from 35 countries around the world, we’re tackling the most urgent global environmental threats, implementing realistic solutions that protect nature and protect our way of life. We have a framework for addressing these pressing challenges, but we can’t do it without you.
Climate change is already beginning to transform our planet and will likely alter our way of life in Hong Kong, according to a study by CSR Asia and Hong Kong University, “Climate Change Challenges for Hong Kong”:
- The average sea level in Victoria Harbor has risen by 0.12 meters in the past 50 years, and the Hong Kong Observatory predicts that the city’s average sea levels could rise 0.48 meters by 2100.
- Hong Kong is projected to receive more rainfall as the climate warms but will also experience times of water shortages.
- Hong Kong will see increased extreme weather events, including heat waves, tidal surges, typhoons, and heavy rains. Storm surges of up to 3 meters could pose a major threat to the people and infrastructure of the city.
The Nature Conservancy is confronting climate change by supporting policies to reduce carbon emissions; by initiating projects to restore forests and remove carbon from the atmosphere in places like China’s Yunnan Province and in Borneo, Indonesia; and by helping governments, local communities, and businesses plan for climate change and adapt to its impacts.
Forests help sustain all life on Earth. They give us fresh air, fuel, food, fiber, and clean water, and they moderate our global climate. But nearly half of Earth’s original forest cover is gone.
Each year, an area nearly the size of Nepal is deforested — that’s partially due to illegal logging, but also to agriculture, development, invasive pests, and diseases. Deforestation also creates 20-25% of all carbon pollution and is a major contributor to global climate change.
For all the threats to the world’s forests, there are many ways to help protect and restore them. And preserving and replanting forests makes a big difference in our lives, too: just one tree can generate enough clean oxygen to meet the needs of four people. In a place like Hong Kong, where thousands die every year from air pollution and millions more get sick, planting trees and protecting forests is essential for our health.
In China, the Conservancy has helped protect and restore forests for the good of nature and people, all around the country:
- In 2007, The Nature Conservancy helped China create its first national park, Pudacuo National Park in Yunnan Province, to protect forests and wildlife and also bring tourism and conservation-related jobs to the area.
- In Sichuan Province’s Pingwu County — one of the most important remaining pieces of giant panda habitat left in the world — we helped create China’s first land trust reserve, a pioneering example of land conservation.
- A partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Novartis, the Chinese government, and communities in Liangshan is restoring 3,900 hectares of forests that were cut down to fuel industrialization.
In the Asia Pacific region, 75% of countries face water shortages, and the freshwater supply in Hong Kong is limited since 70-80% of the water we drink here is imported from Guangdong Province. Our struggle to maintain adequate supplies of clean water for local people is, unfortunately, not unique: water shortages will be a fact of life for most people on the planet by 2025.
But there are things you can do with these. 10 Surprising Ways You Can Use Less Water.
The Conservancy is working to protect and improve China’s freshwater arteries that provide drinking water, power, and irrigation to millions.
We call it the “blue planet” for a good reason: 70% of Earth is covered by oceans, which provide us with food, medicine, oxygen, transportation, and recreation. But 99% of the world’s oceans remain unprotected, while coastal development, land pollution, and overfishing pose major threats.
In Hong Kong, we consume four times more seafood than the global average, meaning that our way of life depends even more on healthy oceans than other people’s. If we don’t ensure sustainable fishing practices and healthy reefs in places like the Coral Triangle — where much of the seafood we eat comes from — we could find ourselves without the foods we love to eat.
The Nature Conservancy and our partners like you work to protect the world’s oceans by restoring coastal habitats and coral reefs, creating marine protected areas, encouraging sustainable fishing, and helping people and marine life adapt to climate change