Turtle Island Restoration Network Featured Guest Speaker During California’s Global Leadership on Biodiversity Conservation at COP 15

For Immediate Release: December 12, 2022

Contacts: Scott Webb, Turtle Island Restoration Network, (707) 921-8211, swebb@seaturtles.org

Turtle Island Restoration Network Featured Guest Speaker During California’s Global Leadership on Biodiversity Conservation at COP 15

MONTREAL—Turtle Island Restoration Network has been identified as a California conservation leader by the California Natural Resource Agency at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP 15). Advocacy Director Scott Webb joined California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, Co-Founder of the California Global Biodiversity Working Group Rosalind Helfand, and CEO of California Environmental Voters Mary Creasman as a featured guest speaker during a roundtable discussion on Monday, December 12, 2022 showcasing California’s global leadership on biodiversity conservation. COP 15 is hosting governments from around the world to agree to a new set of goals and targets to save nature over the next decade through the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 framework process.

Scott Webb, Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Advocacy and Policy Director, is in Montreal working for a better blue-green planet and leveraging the organization’s more than 30-year track record of ocean and watershed policy, advocacy, and habitat restoration work. “It’s imperative to build a direct connection between the targets established at the UN COP 15 talks and on-the-ground groups like Turtle Island Restoration Network who will be responsible for implementing this work,” said Webb.

The conversation involved California Natural Resources Agency leadership, legislative members, conservation organizations, and other partners in California. Titled “California Takes Action on Biodiversity: A Roundtable Discussion at COP 15,” Webb and other important figures in the state addressed work taking place in California, discussed challenges, identified opportunities for collaboration, and built momentum for a strong California presence at COP 15.

“Considering the latest data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates 28% of plants and animals around the globe are threatened with extinction, the need to address declining biodiversity in California and across the world can be delayed no further,The need to address declining biodiversity in California and across the world can be delayed no further,” said Scott Artis, Managing Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “We just scored a victory in California’s most important watershed for critically endangered coho salmon after a 15-year battle, resulting in the passage of a Stream Conservation Area Ordinance that scientists and environmentalists believe provides adequate protection of habitat for imperiled Central Coast coho salmon and steelhead trout in the Lagunitas watershed. Sending a delegate to COP 15 is an important opportunity to highlight solutions and conservation achievements while strengthening relationships with many stakeholders and leaders to help reverse the shocking species declines reported by the IUCN,,” Artis added.

California is technically called an “observer,” which means that the State can influence and suggest text but cannot ratify any treaty. The United States is also just an observer, as Congress never ratified the treaty to be a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and has been reluctant to take leadership on the world stage. Turtle Island Restoration Network is one of the few NGO’s in California who was given the same status as California and will be integral in helping the state become a leader on the national stage. 

“California has a real opportunity to influence these negotiations, acting as the most populated state and the (soon to be) fourth-largest economy in the world. It has tangible examples of how to lead, having done more on 30 x 30 targets than any other nation. And by representing our regional, national and international work, Turtle Island Restoration Network has a significant opportunity to help solve the biodiversity crisis,” said Webb.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network is a global ocean conservation nonprofit with offices in California and Texas, whose mission is to inspire and mobilize people around the world to protect marine biodiversity and the oceans that sustain all life on Earth.

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