CNN’s Call to Earth meets the people working to protect the planet


Ahead of Call to Earth Day on Wednesday 10th November, CNN’s Richard Quest sees how five individuals from around the globe are working to protect the natural world, in a 30-minute special titled Call to Earth: Protectors of the Planet. The show examines five sustainability projects across Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Peru, the UK, and Rwanda.

Bangladesh’s tortoise and turtle populations are under increasing threat from illegal hunting, the wildlife trade, and habitat destruction. Conservation biologist Shahriar Caesar Rahman has made it his life’s work to preserve and restore Bangladesh’s endangered chelonians, through his organisation the Creative Conservation Alliance. The company works with indigenous communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to train former tribal hunters as ‘parabiologists’ and forest guardians to protect the species they once hunted.

In Hong Kong, marine biologist and historical ecologist, Jonathan Cybulski, is studying coral to tell the story of an ecosystem through time. Hong Kong has almost 25% of the recorded marine species for all of coastal China, while accounting for only 0.03% of the coastline. Cybulski explains that Hong Kong has more coral species than the Caribbean, some of which are dying off due to pollution, meaning that managing water quality can have big implications for the entire ecosystem.

Peruvian conservationist Kerstin Forsberg has long held a passion for marine life. She founded Planeta Océano, an organisation that aims to empower local communities to look after the ocean. Its work with giant manta rays led to Peru’s government granting the species legal protection. Forsberg, who was named a Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2016, now focuses her efforts on marine literacy in the community – helping to create sustainable sources of income for fisherman, and developing educational programs in schools.

UK-based startup Ellipsis Earth is tackling plastic pollution around the world. Using data from drones to identify, map, and track plastic waste in the oceans, Ellipsis has had success in the Ganges, the Galapagos Islands, and Sorrento in advising on how best to manage plastic pollution. CNN joins Ellipsis founder and CEO Ellie Mackay in Bournemouth on a clean-up operation using their high tech software.

Finally the programme meets Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, a Rwandan veterinarian who designed and implemented a unique conservation project to save his country’s endangered grey crowned crane. His team works closely with the Rwandan government and other partners to raise awareness about their conservation status and the laws protecting them. Nsengimana, who was named a Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2014, founded the Rwandan Wildlife Conservation Association which has helped the species undergo a remarkable recovery.

The 30-minute special will also air during Call to Earth Day, a day of action dedicated to conservation, environmentalism, and sustainability.