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It's after midnight and loud salsa music is playing. The Latin American gang is trying to get everyone to party. A few are asleep, but most of us are either raiding the fridge for snacks or chatting, enjoying each other's company!

Welcome to a typical moment in the lives of the Pachamama editors. You must be wondering why we chose a name like Pachamama for our book. Well, one young person told us, 'I have visited South America and I have a personal relationship with Pachamama. I know her - she exists. She breathes in the forests, she rages in the earthquakes and the volcanoes, she flows through the rivers and crashes on the shore with the sea. I feel her arms around me, nurturing me and all she asks of me in return is to love her, care for her, nurture her.'

That is what this book is about: each one of us learning to establish a personal relationship with our Mother, the Earth and caring for her in the same way that we do for our friends and family.

The original Global Environment Outlook Report (GEO-2000) was prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with environmental institutions around the world. It does not shrink from telling us how bad some things are, and how they could get much, much worse during our lifetimes. But it also tells us how much good is happening. We are turning the corner but the trouble is we are not turning it fast enough. That is why young people are so important to the movement we have to get in there and energise adults with our ideas and action so that we do change our habits and save Mother Earth for our children and grandchildren.

Producing this book has been an amazing process. First, hundreds of groups around the world were recruited to read and summarise the chapters of the original GEO. These contributors came up with some wonderful stories, paintings and ideas. The hardest thing was deciding which to include, for we could have made 10 books! The book you have in your hands was put together by two editorial teams and a group of adult experts who came from around the world to give us their advice on the first draft. The final text was checked by UNEP.

The editors represent all the different regions of our world, speak different languages and have very different backgrounds. We had never met before and yet we quickly became a happy team. We argued, brainstormed and pushed ourselves and each other to make this the best possible book on the environment there is.

The only measure of our success that we care about is that, when you get to the end of this book, you will be inspired to leap up and do something to save our precious Mother Earth. For what we learned from each other and all the inspiring contributions by the young people is that we are all responsible in everything we do, every day of our lives. So start TODAY. Listen to Pachamama's urgent message: she is our shelter... she is LIFE.

web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: March 2000