plastic pollution

World Environment Day: Ambitious Efforts Needed to Beat Plastic Pollution

The 2023 World Environment Day theme is Beat Plastic Pollution and it calls for global solutions to combat plastic pollution. Since its commercial development in the 1950s, the global production of plastic has been growing exponentially. Its success comes from its remarkable qualities which are, ease of shaping, low cost, and mechanical resistance among others. Approximately 36% of all plastics produced is used in packaging, including single-use plastic products for food and beverage containers. In a report published by WWF, plastic has been identified as the most damaging product polluting the environment with about 85% of all plastic produced ending up in landfills or as unregulated waste.

How do plastics end up in our environment in the first place? For instance, it is estimated that 80% of marine litter comes from land and mainly from household waste, which is poorly recycled, dumped in landfills, or abandoned in nature. Every year, 51 million tonnes of plastics leak into nature, and up to 13 million tonnes spill into the ocean. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals are killed by plastic each year, and microplastics are contaminating our soil, water, and food. Plastic pollution continues to threaten our planet’s biodiversity. The earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals which must be protected but plastic is harming these vital ecosystems.

To address plastic pollution, the global community is proposing measures to control eliminate, reduce, or safely manage, and circulate plastics. Addressing the plastic pollution could involve the following measures;

Address the root causes: An increase in the production of single-use of plastic has been the main cause of plastic pollution globally. Reducing, reusing, and recycling the amount of plastic that is being consumed, especially single-use plastics, could bring us one step closer to a plastic-free society.

Seek alternatives like glass which are recyclable, doesn’t leech toxins into contents, uses less energy to recycle than create, and is long-lasting, strong, and durable.

System shift. Research shows that a shift to a circular economy can reduce the volume of plastics entering the ocean by over 80 percent and it can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. Combining the reduction of problematic and unnecessary plastic usage with a market shift towards plastic circularity could help to tackle the plastic crisis.

Involvement of government, business, and civil society: Governments can introduce laws that ban single-use plastics and implement better waste management systems to help with recycling. Businesses can strive to move towards a circular economy as well as stimulate a reduction in plastic consumption and respond to consumer demand for responsible products and also addressing their environmental footprint. Civil society can raise awareness and take action on plastic pollution.

As we celebrate World Environmental Day this year, lets unite to tackle plastic pollution. An ambitious Global Plastics Treaty can help countries around the globe to transform the way they produce, consume, and dispose of plastics. Together, we can build a more sustainable future and safeguard biodiversity on which all life depends. Together, we can beat plastics pollution.

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International Biodiversity Day 2023: Message by ABCG Director Rubina James

International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated annually in May to increase understanding and appreciation of the criticality of biodiversity. This year, the theme “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” echoes the need to urgently act. As we mark this important day, we must conserve biodiversity and choose sustainable options in all spheres of life and sectors. On World Biodiversity Day and everyday, let’s apply our collective effort to implement this important Framework of the decade and build back better.


Wanjira Mathai: Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023

Wanjira emerged as the only Kenyan in Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ list in 2023 for her work in restoring land, people, and livelihoods. She is the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute (WRI), one of ABCG’s seven consortia members. She is also the chairperson of the Wangari Maathai Foundation. Wanjira has spearheaded the historic Green Belt project, pioneered investment in women entrepreneurs in renewable energy, and is leading a project to rehabilitate 100 million hectares of African land.

Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, in his essay to the global publication, describes Wanjira as an individual who fights for justice and the future of the African continent.

 “As a managing director at the World Resources Institute and chief Africa adviser to the Bezos Earth Fund, she is shaping NGO and philanthropic work on the continent, directing attention, research, and funding to help the most climate-vulnerable places and communities,” wrote Dr. Andrew Steer.

Dr. Andrew Steer further added: “How does she do it? Wanjira would say the secret may lie in the African concept of ubuntu. Our shared humanity, working together, is what allows us to change the world.”

Congratulations Wanjira Mathai!

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Global Climate Change Education

According to a UNESCO report, 70% of young people have a very limited awareness of climate change or cannot describe it to someone else, indicating a significant gap in global climate education. The research also found that the younger the respondents, the higher the level of satisfaction of their learning experiences on climate change education, and girls have less confidence in dealing with climate change based on what they learned in school compared to boys. This brings us to the question of, how much are the schools teaching on climate change.

The global decisions around climate education remain to be one of the most underfunded and underestimated tactics in the fight against climate change. Considering climate change is a man-cause issue, we can’t change our future without first reevaluating our own institutions. The school system is a vital place to begin. Students worldwide require a climate change education that helps them understand how to take better action on climate change and recognize the human place within nature. It should be learner-centred, experiential, and reflective ways of learning making climate change education more fun, solutions-based, and action-oriented. Considering a contextualized climate change education through engagement with the local community could as well expand practical knowledge.

And since schools are important learning spaces for climate change, teachers should be well supported to become ready to teach climate change. They should also be confident enough with up-to-date information and have unlimited resources to teach about climate change. The governments have the mandate to take up the next step toward a more climate-friendly future and implement policies that will support global climate education in schools.


Make a Positive Impact on our Planet by Joining Earth Hour 2023

Earth Hour 2023 will be held on March 25, 2023. Since 2007, Earth Hour has focused attention on climate change and environmental degradation. Earth Hour has reached over 190 countries and territories and millions of people around the globe. Earth Hour has been known for “lights out,” a symbolic event and visual representation of collective support for climate change action. Earth hour continues to advocate for action on climate change, as well as other environmental issues, 17 years later. Earth Hour is an important opportunity for Africa to emphasize the importance of nature to livelihoods, as well as food and energy security on the continent, which is threatened by climate change.

The ability of Earth Hour to inspire and support individuals to act and advocate for change has always been central to its success. Earth Hour demonstrates that collective efforts by governments, businesses, and individuals can make a difference in combating habitat loss, global biodiversity loss, and climate change if people come together to take action. Earth Hour urges immediate action now more than ever.

Dedicate 60 minutes to celebrate our planet!

People are needed now more than ever to make Earth Hour 2023 a year of change in order to meet the 2030 nature positive goal. Individuals, businesses, communities, towns and cities, and entire nations must all participate in Earth Hour to make a difference and create the World’s Greatest Earth Hour. Let us dedicate 60 minutes to global support and celebration of our planet that day.

As landmarks and homes across the planet switch off, everyone should take a break from their routine and everyday distractions and spend 60 minutes doing something positive for our planet.

Together, let’s create the Biggest Hour for Earth. 

Browse events to attend virtually or in-person here.


International Women’s Day 2023

DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. Celebrated annually on March 8, 2023, International Women’s Day (IWD 2023) will focus on the digital gender gap and the importance of protecting women’s and girls’ rights in digital spaces, as well as addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence. In the past, women’s exclusion from the digital world has caused a $1 trillion loss to low- and middle-income countries. Reversing this trend will require addressing online violence, which 38% of women have experienced.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we should ensure gender equality in the implementation of policies that address women’s issues through a gender-responsive approach in which all women and girls have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to innovation, technology, and digital space. However, the digital revolution can also perpetuate existing patterns of gender inequality, with women falling behind due to growing inequalities in digital skills and access to technologies. Therefore, inclusive and transformative technology, as well as digital education, are essential for a sustainable future for women in their various areas of expertise.

ABCG continues to collaborate with local and indigenous women to bridge the gap and amplify their voices on biodiversity conservation and related issues throughout Africa to ensure just and equitable implementation of actions that include women’s full and effective participation and role in biodiversity conservation.

Our International women’s Day Newsletter Edition.

Happy International Women’s Day to all women and girls in the world!

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Rewilding The Sahara and The Sahel

On February 8, 2023, ABCG and the African Wildlife Foundation hosted a presentation by SaharaConservation on the efforts to rewild the Sahara and the Sahel. SaharaConservation is the only international nonprofit dedicated to conserve the wildlife, habitats, and other natural resources of the Sahel and the Sahara.

SaharaConservation’s John Watkin, Chief Executive Officer, and Cloé Pourchier, Program Officer shared the organization’s work, their achievements in rewilding the Sahara, next opportunities, and the threats facing biodiversity.

For the past two decades, SaharaConservation has worked to champion the unique wildlife of the world’s greatest desert landscape. They have worked to protect the last remnant populations of Critically Endangered species including the addax and the starkly patterned dama gazelle, and in more recent years pivoted to large-scale rewilding through translocations and reintroductions.

Rewilding in Chad

As a result of the organization’s rewilding efforts, today over 500 scimitar-horned oryx roam free across the grasslands of central Chad’s Réserve de Faune de Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim, after being extinct in the wild for nearly 30 years. Alongside them are addax (also reintroduced in Chad), dama gazelles, North African ostrich, and many thousands of dorcas gazelles.

Securing a healthy population of scimitar-horned oryx is a long-term commitment and needs to be considered carefully as the balance could be quickly overthrown. Fire, land use, desertification, disease, over-grazing, and security, are some of the threats faced by wildlife in Chad.

Achievements in Niger

In Niger, SaharaConservation has successfully spearheaded two translocations of West African giraffes to Gadabeji Biosphere Reserve, in collaboration with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, and captive breeding of North African ostriches (extinct in the wild in Niger). SaharaConservation and partners are currently assessing the most effective ways to conserve a sub-population of dama gazelle, as well as tackling threats to six species of endangered vultures.

The lack of data, capacity and resources are an obstacle to the protection of vultures and dama. The organization believes that it has a key role to play in accelerating progress in these extraordinary landscapes. They emphasize the need for scaled up, landscape-level approaches, that integrate wildlife conservation with the realities of human development, with a vision for a Sahara that benefits all inhabitants.

Click below to watch the recording

Click here to download the event presentation, Rewilding The Sahara and The Sahel


BREATHE Podcast Episode 5: Turn Down the Heat

There is no denying that our weather partners have evolved significantly since a decade ago. Long-term use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas has been by far the most significant contributor to these changes, accounting for more than 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of total carbon dioxide emissions. According to scientists, greenhouse gas emissions blanket the earth, trapping the sun’s heat and causing global warming and climate change.

The world is currently warming faster than at any other time in recorded history. Warmer temperatures are changing weather patterns and disrupting nature’s normal balance. This poses numerous dangers to humans and all other forms of life on Earth. This incredible phenomenon is known as climate change. Its effects can be felt in every African village and country. Communities all over the world are struggling to cope with its effects, which include higher temperatures, severe storms, increased droughts, food insecurity, poverty, and displacement.

Although Africa is estimated to be responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In this regard, African governments and organizations must urgently develop solutions that address and mitigate the effects of climate change.

This podcast episode focuses on research conducted in sub-Saharan African countries by the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) to better understand how communities are adapting to climate change and its effects on biodiversity. Research findings revealed that among the most common climatic changes were decreased rainfall, seasonal changes, drought, and heatwaves. ABCG together with local partners implemented pilot projects such as rainwater harvesting, restoring water pans, improved irrigation, solar powered borehole pumps, clean cookstoves, reforestation, and providing training and materials for alternative livelihoods to help communities adapt to climate change.

Listen to this episode. Turn Down the Heat

Listen to the past episodes of the podcast

Episode 1: The seed savers. Listen here

Episode 2: Dreams from our fathers. Listen here

Episode 3: ChangeMakers. Listen here

Episode 4: Guardians of the land. Listen here

Listen to all episodes here

BREATHE is a podcast series looking to have illuminating discussions around conservation by highlighting the work of individuals and organizations across Africa who are changing the planet for the better one day at a time.

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Africa in Conservation Biology Platform

The Society for Conservation Biology’s Africa Section, with the support of the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, has recently created the Africa in Conservation Biology database. This database has been developed and curated to help increase the visibility of African conservation practitioners and scientists, and facilitate better connectivity between conservation experts in Africa and the global communities. In addition, the database aims to foster collaborations for the benefit of African conservation.

Who can Participation?

This directory relies solely on public participation. People who have a set of Africa-specific conservation expertise to offer, are invited to enter their details. African nationals and/or affiliates of African institutions are particularly encouraged to list themselves. 

Sign up here


Any feedback that might improve and maximize the potential of the database can be channeled to/via Africa in Conservation Biology


BREATHE Podcast Episode 4: Guardians of the land

BREATHE fourth episode features guardians of the land, as we talk about the land. Land is precious, in Africa it speaks to the origin of the people, a connection to their past, and a testament to the potential that the future holds. It is also a source of many challenges and remains a key driver of conflict. With this in mind, various organizations are working towards getting solutions that will deal with the challenges faced by one of the continent’s most precious resources.

High population increase, expanding infrastructure, climate change, and other drivers have continued to put land in Africa under immense pressure. Land use planning is important to ascertain different uses and stakeholders of the land, regulate land use, and avoid conflict among other benefits. It ensures that land is put to use where maximum benefits can be realized.

Listen to learn how conservation experts with extensive programming in sub-Sahara Africa are using land use planning to ensure that African land resources are sustainably used, and this incredible inheritance is passed on to those who will come after us.

This Podcast Series has been made possible through the support of the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, ABCG. ABCG is a coalition of seven international conservation NGOs with extensive field programming in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, The Jane Goodall Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund. Together with their African Partners, these organizations tackle complex conservation challenges by catalyzing and strengthening collaboration on the continent.

Listen to the past episodes of the podcast

Episode 1: The seed savers. Listen here

Episode 2: Dreams from our fathers. Listen here

Episode 3: ChangeMakers. Listen here

Listen to all episodes here

BREATHE is a podcast series looking to have illuminating discussions around conservation by highlighting the work of individuals and organizations across Africa who are changing the planet for the better one day at a time.