Why we're joining an international network to address climate change

In the last twelve months alone, the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s animal rescue team has responded to floods in the Western US and Balkans, a cyclone in India, wildfires in Chile, drought in Pakistan, and a typhoon in the Philippines.

We have witnessed first-hand the various ways Mother Nature can wreak havoc for humans and animals alike.

The destruction left in the wake of these events has been shocking.

Over the years, we have listened to experts explain how the keystone species we protect are slowly shifting their habitats to accommodate for changing temperatures and to follow the ebb and flow of water sources. With habitat encroachment and destruction to accommodate the burgeoning human population already putting pressure on a vast range of species, the more nuanced changes in climate could have enormous—and often deleterious—outcomes when it comes to species distribution, interaction, and ultimately survival.

The climate is changing.

While some still debate how much is due to human beings’ dependence on fossil fuels and otherwise poor stewardship of the environment, it is our responsibility as an animal welfare organization—which has a keen eye to these unfortunate aforementioned developments—to lend a particular voice to a much larger network pushing for smart, swift action to address climate change before it is too late.

That is why we have joined the Climate Action Network (CAN), which is a worldwide network of more than 900 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

The goal of CAN is to protect the global climate “in a manner which promotes equity and social justice between peoples, sustainable development of all communities, and protection of the global environment.”

CAN supports and empowers civil society organizations to influence the design and development of an effective global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Much is expected of us.

We are encouraged to be forthright with our initiatives and share communications with our network members. We will be participating in meetings and leading appropriate working groups. We must collectively take responsibility to ensure that the relationships we build among ourselves are strong and resilient enough to stand up to arguably our generation’s largest singular problem.

We are in good company.

Many of our peer NGOs around the world have joined CAN. On Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening a historic Climate Summit of world leaders in New York City to build momentum on the path to the climate negotiations ahead.

In advance of the climate summit, this Sunday, September 21, people in New York and around the world will make their voices heard during the People’s Climate March, which is expected to be the largest rally for addressing global climate change in history.

As the world grapples with climate change, a host of organizations have to be ready to lend a voice to the work being done to stem its ruinous effects.

We feel honored to be part of the Climate Action Network and are ready to get down to work.


Will you be in New York City on September 21st? Join the People's Climate March!


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime