Tony Juniper spent a lifetime traveling the world’s rainforests and raising awareness about environmental threats. Now, he is chairman of the United Kingdom’s Natural England, the national conservation agency — by contrast, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is headed by a former coal industry lobbyist. (Editor’s note: In March 2021, Michael S. Regan became the 16th Administrator of the EPA, replacing Andrew Wheeler, who held that office when this podcast originally aired.)
Juniper joins Earth911 to talk about his new book, Rainforest: Dispatches From the Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines. It is an exploration of the role rainforests play in the global environment and Juniper’s many activist accomplishments. We particularly recalled the Mahogony is Murder campaign that dramatically reduced illegal logging in the Amazon basin. Juniper has been at the forefront of environmental movements since they first began.
The rainforests are “Earth’s lungs,” Juniper explains. They help to exchange water between the soil and atmosphere, as well as host the widest range of species on the planet. The loss of rainforests threatens humanity’s ability to discover and learn from nature’s mechanism through “biomimicry.” He shares how the planet will suffer from systemic illness in the planet’s body. For example, as ice collapses in the South, oceans will rise on all continents. We can learn from Juniper, who has the ear of Britain’s Prince Charles, a leader of efforts to preserve rainforests in South America and the Asia-Pacific region. His experience can teach people everywhere how to get involved and make a positive impact for the Earth.
All is not lost, Juniper counsels, but the hour for action is passing. He sees governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations working together to reduce carbon emissions. And he believes that humanity may have awakened to climate threats. Join the conversation to learn what you can do to help.