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Young people from all over the world have produced an inspiring, sometimes frightening, collection of case studies, poems and drawings to tell the story of our global environment. Some things they have to say are disturbing – adults have acted irresponsibly in caring for the environment. But young people are also enthusiastically dedicated to their future – a future where Mother Earth is healthy and where people work together to solve our current and future problems.

Over a year ago, when this book was still only an idea, Brem, a young Indian man said:

‘By creating this book, young people world-wide can work together and produce something really amazing. Once we know what the problems look like in each part of the world, we will have a much better idea of what we each have to do to solve them.’

How right he was.

As you read, Pachamama will tell you why the world’s environment is being degraded and how our Mother Earth is doing today. The book also tells you about what is being done around the world and maybe even on your doorstep, to protect the environment. And, as we move into the next century and millennium, the book looks at what we can expect in the future. It ends with a set of true stories relating what young people around the world are doing to improve their environment. I hope you will enjoy reading Pachamama and become inspired to take action.

A lot of information in Pachamama has come out of a book called the Global Environment Outlook, or GEO in short. GEO is a report written by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report is an overview of the health or state of our environment and of the policies that are in place to manage the environment and tackle environmental problems.

To produce this report, UNEP works with hundreds of people and many organisations around the world, who collect and send us information about the environment and what people are doing about it. UNEP compiles all this information into the GEO report. Pachamama was made in a similar way. Young people from all over the world wrote to UNEP, and UNEP’s partner Peace Child International, about the environment in their country. From all the contributions, an editorial group made up of some of the authors and artists compiled the stories, poems, case studies and pictures into this amazing book.

When you have finished reading Pachamama, I challenge you to do the following:
  1. Talk about the problems that you see in your own environment with your friends, family and teachers.
  2. Make an action plan on how you can improve your environment in the new millennium – and write to me in twelve months telling me the difference that you have made.
  3. Challenge yourself and your leaders to bring the concept of sustainable development, especially environmental and social justice, to the centre of local, national and international decision-making.
It’s your world - accept nothing less.

Dr. Klaus Töpfer
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme

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