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In an op-ed in The Guardian earlier this month, actor Edward Norton, a UN goodwill ambassador for biodiversity, laid out his concerns about the Earth’s biodiversity and the consequences of inaction – an unhappy future if plans are not designed now.

“Without collective action,” says Norton, “our ecosystems will approach tipping points, putting human lives and livelihoods, as well as such irreplaceable services as air and water purification, the renewal of soil fertility, and climate stabilization at risk of irreversible degradation and collapse.”

But with two key events this autumn, Norton sees the possibility for progress. The first event was held on September 22, when 192 UN member states met to discuss exclusively the biodiversity crisis. The second will take place in Japan in October when, he says, “193 parties to the convention on biological diversity will adopt a new strategic plan for 2011-2020, containing new targets for 2020 and a new biodiversity vision for 2050.”

This is where Norton would like US President Obama to step up. He is asking Obama to ratify full acceptance of the convention so that the US can fulfill its expressed responsibilities towards a cleaner, safer planet.

“No one on Earth is immune from the negative impacts of deforestation, species extinction, the collapse of coral reefs, loss of fresh water lakes, and ocean acidification. The idea that economic growth is independent of environmental health is a dangerous delusion.”

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