Call to Earth Day: Taking action to protect the planet

Updated 6:01 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021
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12:58 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Is compost the future of agriculture?

One-third of the food we produce ends up as waste, according to the UN's FAO. One waste-management startup in Lebanon saw this predicament as an opportunity to repurpose the country’s biowaste into fertilizer.

CNN's Becky Anderson spoke to Marc Aoun, CEO of Compost Baladi, about the benefits of using compost to fuel the future of agriculture.

12:43 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

This young climate activist used his own money to plant trees in Uganda

Nyombi Morris decided that instead of just talking about climate change, he would be part of the solution. He has been buying seeds and native plants from community gardens and local gardeners, to begin reforesting his native Uganda, which has lost much of its forests over the last century.

This year, the 23-year-old has organized tree-planting events around the country, helping to plant over 7,000 trees. He has also worked with 13 schools to teach children about the dangers of damaging the environment. For Call to Earth Day, Morris and a group of volunteers planted 500 trees in the city of Jinja, in southern Uganda.

12:27 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

To achieve long-term conservation, "we have to include people"

Spanning three countries, the Gran Chaco is the second-largest forest in South America, rich with biodiversity. But it seemed like "nobody was taking care of it," says conservation biologist and Rolex Awards Laureate Erika Cuéllar.

So she began taking an original approach to restoration, enlisting local people and giving them technical training to become "parabiologists" -- like paramedics, she says, but for nature. 

On a special Call to Earth Day edition of Connect the World, CNN's Becky Anderson spoke with Cuéllar to learn more about her work in the Gran Chaco.

Call to Earth is a CNN initiative in partnership with Rolex.

Read more about Cuéllar's work with the indigenous peoples of the Gran Chaco.

12:16 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Saving cheetahs from the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade in Somaliland

Members of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Somaliland are pledging to overcome the education barrier and teach a new generation about the benefits of preserving this global biodiversity hotspot.

The illegal wildlife trade is a scourge in the Horn of Africa, and cheetahs are a prized species for smugglers. In a 2019 investigation, the CCF told CNN there were less than 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild, and 1,000 estimated to be in private ownership in Gulf nations. Meanwhile, human-animal conflict has arisen between cheetahs and farmers.

But, as Ladan A Jama says in her Call To Earth Day pledge, "people are realizing the health of animals, people and landscape are connected, and our environment is the foundation and support of human existence."

11:56 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Cook Islanders are reclaiming the landscape from invasive species

The Takuva’ine Valley in Rarotonga is the largest valley in the Cook Islands, but for decades it has suffered from a host of invasive species including the grand balloon vine and the African tulip. Their presence has come at the expense of ‘ūtū (king banana) trees, a native species that has historically provided food for islanders.

Meanwhile, an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, caused by a downturn of predators, threatens to decimate coral reefs off the coast.

Young Māori students of Kōrero O Te `Ōrau are reversing the damage on sea and land as part of Call To Earth Day. They've removed starfish from reefs and invasive species from the overgrown valley, and are using the starfish as fertilizer for newly-planted ‘ūtū trees.

It marks the latest chapter in what has been a four-year mission from Kōrero O Te `Ōrau to improve the wellbeing of the Cook Islands' indigenous people and their natural environment.

11:39 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

"The planet is in the hands of young people"

Maritza Morales Casanova grew up in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Having witnessed the degradation of natural areas, in 1995, at the age of 10, she founded HUNAB, an environmental advocacy group that promotes peer-to-peer learning.

A Rolex Awards Laureate, in 2013, Morales Casanova opened the Ceiba Pentandra education center in the outskirts of Merida, the capital of Yucatán. It provides space and resources for children to learn about the environment and share their knowledge with classmates.

This is her message for Call to Earth Day. Call to Earth is a CNN initiative in partnership with Rolex.

Read more about Maritza Morales Casanova.

11:19 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Buzzing: Bees find safe havens from Ethiopia to Uzbekistan

Bees help to provide healthy habitats for animals, birds and insects. But to do this, they also need their own.

That's why students at Abbotts College Johannesburg South are making bee gardens for Call To Earth Day. They want to conserve African honey bees and, in turn, preserve our bee-dependent ecosystems.

In Ethiopia and Uzbekistan, the economy is also reliant on bees.

Beekeeping is an accessible, low-capital business opportunity for urban and rural communities, which helps to minimize the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Smallholders produce honey to sell, and for use in food and drinks.

However, women smallholders do not just face the challenges of climate change but also discrimination in land ownership and management. That's why 30 Ethiopian and Uzbek women beekeepers are becoming "agents of change" by piloting an AI-driven beekeeping app.

The Beekeeper's Companion app, developed by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and HiveTracks, uses local knowledge and artificial intelligence to help smallholders to claim ownership and buy-in to innovative and sustainable solutions.

From beekeeping training to monitoring hive inspections, it provides support to keep approaches to beekeeping ahead of climate change, protecting bees while boosting micro-entrepreneurship among women beekeepers.

11:00 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Meet Forest Green Rovers, the football club that's top of the sustainability table

While sport is sometimes criticized for its negative impact on the planet, English lower league-club Forest Green Rovers has impeccable green credentials, which are attracting fans on and off the pitch.

10:43 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rainforest Alliance promoting “climate smart agriculture”

The Rainforest Alliance is an international NGO known for its food and product certification label featuring a green frog, with more than 2 million farmers around the world having been certified for following its sustainability standards.

CNN’s Julia Chatterley spoke with the Rainforest Alliance’s CEO Santiago Gowland to learn more about what the frog represents.