Some things are worth more than money.

UNESCO is the organization that is responsible for protecting the cultural and natural heritage of our world — the places we’ve agreed are too valuable to sacrifice for the sake of profit. Places like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or the Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh, or Lamu Island in Kenya, the site of 700 years of cultural exchange.

Right now greed is putting those special places, and many more, at serious risk. Huge new coal projects are planned near these crucial UNESCO World Heritage sites, and climate change threatens many others.

But UNESCO is going silent on coal and climate change — meaning that priceless history and singular cultural landscapes are at risk of being erased by a covering of coal dust and rising sea levels.

We’re delivering a public letter to UNESCO headquarters ahead of a key global meeting to tell them to stand up to coal and climate change to protect World Heritage Sites. Can you co-sign it with us to help make sure this message gets through?

By standing up to coal and climate change, UNESCO would be protecting our past, and our future. Here are some of Heritage Sites facing the biggest threats from coal and climate change:

 

Sundarbans Forest: The government of Bangladesh is trying to build the Rampal coal plant in the middle of the Sundarbans Forest, which supports endangered species, a quiet way of life for fishing communities, and typhoon protection for the whole country. Coal ash and boat traffic would upend the ecosystem keeping this World Heritage Site alive.

 

Lamu Island: For 700 years, Swahili, Arabic, Indian and European cultures have lived together in the Old Town of Lamu, Kenya. Now a huge new coal plant is planned next door, and rising sea levels are creeping into the city.

 

Great Barrier Reef: Over 50% of the reef is dying off from the effects of acidic oceans caused by carbon pollution. The Australian Government is trying to open the world’s largest planned coal mine through the reef — putting it under greater risk from coal dust, dredging and other disasters.

 

Turkey: Countless ancient places are at risk in Turkey. Among these are the Hecate temple in Lagina (Yatağan), the ancient port city of Kyme, and the Byzantine fortress of Pegae. Many more could be threatened if Turkey pursues it’s plan to build even more coal plants.

UNESCO needs to stand up and protect these places. Add your name to our letter, and we’ll deliver it to their headquarters ahead of a key meeting that could decide the fate of these Heritage Sites and many more.

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