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PRESS RELEASE
October 16, 2009

ATP Initiates Climate Change Youth Campaign on Oct. 24 as Part of
350 International Day of Action

Click here to read the press release in Armenian

YEREVAN--As part of the global 350 climate change campaign, Armenia Tree Project is working with the Young Armenian Scholars NGO and Agricultural Development Program on an initiative to plant 350 pine seedlings in the village of Tsaghkaber in Lori, Armenia.

“We have formed a group of 35 students from four secondary schools--all of them are members of Eco-Clubs in their schools--along with teachers and staff members of the partnering organizations to supervise the initiative,” noted ATP Yerevan Director Mher Sadoyan. “Participants of the event will plant 350 trees on the hillside at one of ATP’s newly established forests.”

The tree planting event in Tsaghkaber will take place on Saturday, October 24, and will run from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

“We are proud to represent Armenia in this international 350 movement to raise awareness of the issue of climate change. This campaign was initiated by activists and scientists to raise awareness of rising levels of carbon dioxide that is causing climate change globally and even in Armenia, where we are witnessing more weather extremes and drier weather that has implications for forests and agriculture,” explained Sadoyan.

“Activists all over the world are planning actions on this day, to let global leaders know that scientists have concluded that carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere need to be lowered to 350 parts per million, or we will face climate changes that could lead to widespread disruptions for people and ecosystems,” added Sadoyan.

Armenia will be represented by Armenia Tree Project, the Young Armenian Scholars NGO, and the Agricultural Development Program, all of which have been active in the environmental, educational, and agricultural spheres. The United Nations Development Programme is also supporting this initiative as part of its initiative on “Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts in Mountain Forest Ecosystems of Armenia.”

On October 24, before planting 350 seedlings on a specially chosen and prepared site, specialists from ATP will instruct the students on proper tree planting techniques. After the planting, a large 350 banner will be displayed at the site and a group photo with the event organizers and participants will be taken to demonstrate Armenia’s commitment and participation in the 350 day of action.

The mass media is invited to participate and publicize the story of this unique global initiative and Armenia’s contribution.

“Trees absorb carbon dioxide that causes climate change, so we hope our contribution to the global 350 campaign will have a positive effect and will help reduce the adverse effects of climate change, especially for rural populations in Armenia and other countries that are most affected,” stated ATP Environmental Education Program Manager Alla Berberyan.

“The climate action in Armenia will be a positive event to raise awareness of the importance of the number 350 to the Armenian and the international community, and we are expecting it to have a practical educational impact especially for the local school and teaching community,” noted Berberyan. “We are proud that Armenia has joined this international movement and look forward to learning about similar actions in other countries on the 350.org website.”

As part of this campaign, Armenia Tree Project and the Young Armenia Scholars NGO have already started working with the schoolchildren and group leaders on environmental education and tree planting lessons. Training topics included the importance of trees, tree care, and the role of trees in protecting topsoil, water supplies, and air quality. During these lessons, schoolchildren were introduced to the topics of climate change and the threats caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

Light refreshments (snacks and beverages) will be kindly provided to event participants by the Agricultural Development Program. For more details about the event and transportation arrangements, contact Armine Tokhmakhyan at ATP by calling (374 10) 44-74-01 or send an email to armine@armeniatree.org.

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS

What Is 350 And Why Is It Important?

350 is what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide remained above 350 parts per million.

Mostly because people have burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to 390 ppm. That is way too high, and this is the reason ice is melting, drought is spreading, and forests are dying. To bring this number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere, which means a transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly take some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels. Today, the aim of the 350 organizers and supporters is to get world leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to the 350 mark.

This can be achieved if the world mobilizes to swift and bold climate action, which is what a total of 140 countries are planning to do on October 24. The most active environmental groups and organizations from all over the world started initiating their own events by joining the 350 movement and spreading word in their communities. Every day the 350 movement grows: Armenia’s action will be a part of the global mosaic of more than 1,700 events in over 140 countries calling on world’s leaders to take a bold stand on climate change.

350 Website: http://www.350.org

Armenia Tree Project NGO

Armenia Tree Project (ATP) conducts vitally important environmental projects in Armenia’s impoverished and deforested zones and seeks support in advancing its reforestation mission. Since 1994, ATP has made enormous strides in combating desertification in the biologically diverse but threatened Caucasus region. Over 3,000,000 trees have been planted and restored, and hundreds of jobs have been created for Armenians in seasonal tree-related programs.

ATP works to further Armenia’s economic and social development by mobilizing resources to fund reforestation. These vital new trees provide food, wood, environmental benefits, and opportunities for economic growth. Our goal is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the global environment. In so doing, we are guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem.

Armenia Tree Project NGO: http://www.armeniatree.org

Young Armenian Scholars NGO

Young Armenian Scholars is a non-profit social-charitable organization established in 2002 and based in Yerevan. The organization conducts educational, cultural, and environmental programs. The mission of the organization is to enhance Armenia’s contribution to global society in the framework of sustainable development through promoting education, with an emphasis on younger Armenian citizens.

The organization’s goals are to promote the engagement of children and youth in civil society as contributors to the sustainable development of Armenia, to promote environmental education, to promote the positive involvement of socially and economically vulnerable children in society, to promote knowledge and appreciation of Armenia’s nature and culture and its preservation in children and youth, and to contribute in the development of social consciousness and responsibility in schoolchildren and youth.

Young Armenian Scholars NGO: http://www.armenianscholars.com

Agricultural Development Program NGO

Agricultural Development Program NGO was founded in 2007 by a group of people who are not indifferent to the development of Armenia’s rural communities. The mission of ADP is to assist independent agricultural groups of local farmers. ADP works for development of communities in Armenia and the introduction of organic farming methods. The organization brings together information about community projects and assists with consultation, agricultural equipment, education, labor management, organizational, and business development.

ADP provides assistance mainly in the form of publicity, networking, and production of educational materials, organizing trainings as well as implementing projects that will bring sustainable development for the community. For example, ADP helps farmers purchase agricultural equipment, informs subscribing organizations and individuals about potential sources of funding, and puts them in touch with potential partners abroad. By assisting farmers with useful information and contacts, ADP helps these groups to grow and gain local and international recognition.

Agricultural Development Program NGO: http://www.adp.am


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