Today I will celebrate. And my friends in Greenpeace's forest campaign will celebrate too. But this is nothing different for us. We do this every day. But maybe, just maybe, the focus that a day like today brings may help our work to protect the world’s remaining forests.
Today, 21 March, is the International Day of Forests. This date was agreed by the UN General Assembly in November 2012 so that every year there would be one day set aside to “celebrate and raise awareness” of forests.
And I invite you to celebrate too - and to resolve to protect forests in whatever way you can.
Forests are important. They are the spiritual and physical home to millions of people. They shelter and feed a fantastic network of life: mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, trees, flowers and fishes. They play a vital role in keeping our climate stable.
Forests store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon. This is roughly 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Deforestation produces the same amount of climate pollution as all the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined.
We need to keep those greenhouse gas emissions where they are by preserving and protecting the forests.
Forests also regulate water flow and rainfall so we depend on them to grow our crops and food. Loss of a forest in one part of the world can have severe impacts in another. Scientists have found that the loss of forest in Amazonia and Central Africa can severely reduce rainfall in the American Midwest.
For Greenpeace, every day is a day to celebrate forests.
We campaign to protect forests because of the vast range of amazing biodiversity they support. Because they capture and contain climate-changing greenhouse gases. Because they are home to millions of people. And - last, but not least - because without healthy forests, the Earth cannot sustain life.
So let’s all celebrate forests today and every day, by speaking up and standing up for their protection.