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Quest Means Business
U.S. Inflation Surges To 6.2 Percent, The Most In 30 Years; Electric Car Maker, Rivian Pops After Biggest IPO Of 2021; Draft Deal Aims To Hold Warming To 1.5 Degrees Celsius; Call To Earth: Protectors Of The Planet. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 10, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It is a triple digit loss for the Dow right now with tech stocks, even more than that. Those are the markets
and these are the main events.
U.S. inflation hits a 30-year high, President Biden says the trend must be reversed.
The U.S. and China make a deal at COP 26 to ramp up their climate action.
And shares in the electric car company, Rivian are surging on their NASDAQ debut. We'll hear from its CEO.
Live from New York, it is Wednesday, November the 10th. I'm Paula Newton and then this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Good evening, tonight, as if we had to remind the markets, inflation is looking less and less transitory. Much to President Joe Biden's dismay,
prices in the United States climbed even higher in October. They are now up more than six percent over the last 12 months. It is something Americans
haven't seen in more than a generation.
This is the highest inflation rate since 1990 and it is sending U.S. markets lower. Of course, the NASDAQ obviously making an impression there,
it is the worst hit, down more than one and a half percent now. Rising inflation, of course, undermines Jerome Powell's case that this is going to
be temporary, right? That was what this phenomenon was supposed to be all about and it could pressure the Federal Reserve now to taper its stimulus
All of it carries risks, the Fed Chairman said last week that it's hard to predict when prices will level off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Our baseline expectation is that supply bottlenecks and shortages will persist well into next year, and
elevated inflation as well, and then as the pandemic subsides, supply chain bottlenecks will abate and job growth will move back up. And as that
happens, inflation will decline from today's elevated levels.
Of course, the timing of that is highly uncertain, but certainly, we should see inflation moving down by the second or third quarter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Second or third quarter, huh? Well, Joe Biden says reversing this trend is his top priority, and I don't have to remind any of you, right?
This isn't complicated economic theory. Simply put, prices are rising on products that you and I use every day.
First point of pain, right? Gasoline, petrol -- pain at the pump. Gas is up a stunning 50 percent from where it was a year ago. But how about this,
right? When you're at the grocery store, everything is going up.
What many people have noticed though, is pork, things like bacon going up more than 20 percent now, and then of course, can't have bacon without the
eggs, at least I'm sure at the Newton household, 12 percent higher.
And then of course, my personal favorite, coffee, up six percent. But I have to tell you, for people looking for bargains, it can go up even more
than six percent.
Now, key as well, whether you're watching me on a television or on some kind of technical device, prices are going up there, too. TVs, for
instance, up more than 10 percent last year.
Matt Egan is at Best Buy in New York, and Matt, I know all over cities and towns all over the United States, including places like those all-important
consumer markets like Best Buy, inflation is going up.
And again, consumers know that these aren't stats, right? It's coming right out of their paychecks.
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Paula, that's absolutely right. I mean, we have to remember that high inflation is the most painful to low income families
and those living on a fixed income. We have to try to explain why this is happening, and I think the simplest way to explain it is to say that demand
is really picking up as the economy reopens, but supply just cannot catch up, and that's because we have all these supply chain issues.
I mean, there's a shortage of computer chips around the world. There's not enough truck drivers. There's not enough trucks. There's enough components.
We've have all this port congestion. And so that's why we've seen consumer prices go up so dramatically.
In October, U.S. consumer prices were up by 6.2 percent. We haven't seen a number like that in nearly 31 years when George H.W. Bush was in the White
House. If you look month over month, prices were up by nearly one percent. That is an acceleration. Those numbers are going the wrong way.
And I want to give you some more examples of concrete items that are getting more expensive. You mentioned gasoline up 50 percent, used cars up
Bacon and beef, 20 percent. Eggs, TV, up double digits as well.
More fallout from the computer chip shortage as well, because we saw new vehicle prices rise nearly 10 percent year-over-year. We haven't seen a
number like that since 1975, and it is never a good sign when you're making inflation comparisons with the 1970s.
But Paula, we do need to point out that prices were falling actually, in 2020 when the economy was shut down. We saw prices for car rentals and
airfare hotels all really drop. But again, that was because COVID was running rampant. Now, we're seeing the reversal, and it is going to take
some time to sort it all out.
NEWTON: Yes, the question -- the big question for the Fed Chair and everyone else is how long it's going to take and of course, for those
trying to bring home the bacon, right, the inflation, the wage increases just haven't been keeping up with inflation at least not so far.
Matt Egan, thanks for being on the ground there for us.
Meantime, electric car maker, Rivian, got a jolt on its very first day as a public company.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
NEWTON: Quite a fanfare there. Shares started trading at $106.00. That is a 37 percent leap over its IPO price just hours before. Now, investors have
tapped the brakes slightly in that last hour of trading as you can see, they're up though almost 30 percent. It is the latest public offering this
year and the biggest in the U.S. since Facebook's back in 2012.
Now, at its peak today, Rivian was valued at -- wait for it -- $93 billion. As you can see there, that's more than General Motors and Ford. Even though
Rivian will only make 1,200 cars this year, not even enough for a small sized city.
Of course, they're all dwarfed by Tesla, now valued at more than a trillion dollars.
Julia Chatterley spoke to the Rivian CEO before the shares -- pardon me -- just starting to trade. He said the company was just trying to keep up with
demand right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RJ SCARINGE, CEO, RIVIAN: We've got so much backlog that we're just focused right now in making sure we actually get these products. I get a
lot of notes from customers, saying, hey, we're super excited, when can we get our -- when we get our car?
And so we're very focused on that, and of course, in parallel to that, we also have our commercial ends and I think often, it's perceived that there
is some level of decision one versus the other portion. We've designed the business to run multiple programs at the same time.
We have two very separate completely independent production lines for these two products, and that's what we've been building as you and I talked about
a couple years ago, that's what I've been focused on building, is the organizational discipline and scale to be capable of running multiple
programs in parallel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: And we will certainly keep an eye on that company. A lot to get to here, deal or no deal, negotiators in Glasgow have a draft agreement to try
and limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Not everyone is on board though. We're there, next.
NEWTON: So, some new developments here, the U.S. and China say they have agreed to up their climate commitments as COP 26 in Glasgow comes to an
end. Now, China's climate envoys said cooperation was in fact the only option, but he didn't commit to the global methane pledge or any other
major international agreement.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said he was frustrated by countries looking to back out of their commitments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is very frustrating to see countries that have spent six years conspicuously patting themselves on the
back for signing that promissory note in Paris, quietly edging towards default now that vulnerable nations and future generations are demanding
payment here now in Glasgow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Phil Black joins us now from COP 26. And Phil, you know, okay, we had the draft, everybody greeted that with a good dose of caution. And then
behind it was this new supposedly China-U.S. proposal. Is there anything substantive in that?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the China-U.S. agreement, Paula, I think is about trying to overcome what has been a
shadow over this entire conference and that is the belief, the suspicion that broader geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S., the fact
they disagree on an awful lot right now has been impacting their ability to work constructively on climate and close the gaps here, because the gaps
So perhaps, we'll see that reflected in the coming days, but that's really crucial what happens next in the coming days, because as you touched on,
there is a draft. The draft tries to push 1.5 as the accepted threshold for a global average temperature increase, the goal we should all be working
It is more explicit in language than the Paris Agreement is. There is going to be some pushback on that we expect from some countries who don't want to
see that. Crucially, the point -- the big point here is that this draft provides a way forward beyond COP 26, beyond Glasgow, because as the draft
says, at the moment, the commitments do not add up to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
What the draft says is that everyone should look at their commitments again next year, wrap them up, and ensure they are aligned with 1.5. It calls for
Ministers to get together at the end of next year and talk about it, world leaders, the year after that.
The reason why this is important is because there is a pretty strong view here that we can't wait another five years in order to ramp up these
commitments. By that stage, based on the science which says we have to cut emissions by 45 percent this decade, the opportunity to achieve 1.5 will
have slipped away.
So it is all to play for here in this final coming days. These commitments, this path forward, this specific language around 1.5 and the opportunities
to perhaps get there in the coming years are really considered vital if this conference is to be considered anything close to a success -- Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, Phil, I don't have a lot of time, but Boris Johnson himself made it clear that look, emissions are rising at this hour right now,
they're not actually decreasing, and that so much would have to be done even before 2025.
BLACK: Yes, that's right, and that is the key point. The clock is ticking. Emissions are increasing. Rather than cutting by 45 percent come 2030 as
the scientists say we must, the draft points out that we're on track to increase by around 13 percent come 2030.
So the gap is, it is really significant. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done, and if -- we know it's not going to be done
here in Glasgow, the only way for this to be considered a success if everyone agrees to come together and talk about it again, in the very near
NEWTON: Phil Black for us continuing to cover COP 26. Appreciate it.
And now, Tamar Zandberg is the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection, and she joins me now. You have been at this table trying to
push this forward. I'm sure it has been incredibly frustrating at times. This has not been an inspiring conference. I don't have to remind you.
The U.N. has been very clear. It is all but impossible at this hour to meet critical goals for 2030, let alone 2050. What has it been like for you, as
a stakeholder, and what do you see as the major stumbling blocks?
TAMAR ZANDBERG, ISRAELI MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Yes, so I think I have to not fully agree with you, and I think there is a sense of
some kind of failure, so to speak, in the last few days. I actually don't think this is the case.
I think there was a sense of urgency. We saw almost 200 countries represented, over 120 Heads of State gathering together in one place,
united against climate change and with the same message that we cannot cross the 1.5 degrees.
And I think after 26 years, you know, this is COP 26, after 26 years, I think this was the moment of change, because the emergency is clear,
because economies speak. Now, it's not just politics, and it's not just policymakers. It is searching for economic opportunities that will help us
adjust to the new reality that climate change shapes and designs for us, and I think there is not only a growing understanding, but some kind of a
shift, of a turning point from which we understand that there is no turning back, you know, and climate change is real.
NEWTON: And I take -- I take your point and your sense of urgency, and yes, it is real. Your country has put more ambitious targets on the table,
and yet you face the same cynicism that large polluters face. Right?
If you looked at your proposals in Israel right now, the roadmap is still not that clear that you would even get to net zero by 2050, let alone 2030.
So, you're saying, there is a sense of urgency. But what have you seen at the negotiating table that makes you think you'll actually get there?
ZANDBERG: Yes, so, first of all, Israel has committed to net zero by 2050, only days before the conference in Glasgow and that means that Glasgow
already served as some kind of a motivator to reach that target.
Now, a week before going to Glasgow, we did put on the table some four pledges in the fields of energy, of transportation, of innovation, that are
actually our action plan, how to make it happen. And we have allocated money in the budget that passed only last week to meet the targets and to
make sure that we will meet them.
Of course, it's not easy. It's not easy to any country, and especially Israel, it is a little bit behind because of not doing much in the years
that passed. But this government was sworn in only four months ago, and it is already doing more that was done in years.
So, I'm actually optimistic. I think that our innovation that we are known of and our Prime Minister focuses on innovation very much, and this is
something that we hope that the climate technologies that will be invented in the next few years can contribute a lot.
But we don't sit and wait for the new technologies, we are acting now to electrify our transportation, to put forward our renewable energy program
and these are things that we're doing now, especially because Israel is not -- it's really not a big emitter, but it is a very vulnerable place in
terms of the disasters that we will see in our dry and wrought climate.
NEWTON: Yes, and that vulnerability has been key and a lot of smaller countries talking about that at the table of COP 26.
I will have to leave it there, Minister Zandberg. We will continue to watch those developments. Appreciate it.
And we will be right back with more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
NEWTON: Over the past 10 days, CNN has been covering the environmental challenges facing our planet. These issues can of course sometimes feel
vast and overwhelming, but there are solutions.
On Call to Earth Day, we are celebrating a planet worth protecting and the people creating a more sustainable future, those who are driving awareness
and of course, inspiring action.
We want to take a closer look now at how one U.S. organization is participating in the Call to Earth partnership.
Athena Jones joins us now from a community center in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood.
Athena, it's good to see you, and I know that community where you're in right now, they certainly feel the vulnerability to climate. But how are
they choosing to make a difference and step up?
ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. We're here at the Sustainable Fashion Community Center where they just wrapped up a
fashion show using all recycled clothing. This is a community center that opened in May. They received more than 1,500 pounds of donated clothing,
and so today's fashion show was all about clothing that has been either remade into something new kind of caught that upcycling or clothing that is
simply being reused.
It is all about promoting sustainable fashion. So fashion that protects the environment, that conserves natural resources. People may not realize the
fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. This is according to statistics from the United Nations. It is a big user of
resources, natural resources, like water, for instance.
One statistic, it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans, that's enough water to last the average person about seven years. In
terms of emissions, we know that the textile production industry emits more greenhouse gases than international flights and maritime shipping combined,
and we know that clothing and footwear, those industries contribute about eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
So we're talking about an industry that has a big responsibility for polluting the earth, and so shows like this, days like this, centers like
this devoted to sustainable fashion and fair trade, all about teaching people how to make their fashion choices more sustainable, how to reuse
more things, how to, you know, not order everything online, but maybe actually go in person to a store to shop, because you're reducing the
shipping and the fuel and the pollution that happens when you're bringing a package to your home.
So a really fun event, a lot of community engagement, fashion designers showing what they can do, remaking a clothes, reusing clothes, so that more
resources aren't spent on producing new clothing.
NEWTON: As you've been talking, we have been watching some of the outfits and they certainly -- the upcycling looks very, very fashionable. And like
you said, it's the fast fashion here that is really the culprit in this industry.
Athena, thanks so much for being here for us. Appreciate it.
Now, the work doesn't end or begin today. Take, the Rolex laureate Miranda Wang. She showed you -- we showed you her story back in 2018. She built a
company that recycled plastic waste.
Richard spoke to Miranda ahead of Call to Earth Day and asked her how the world was tackling pollution problems today.
MIRANDA WANG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, NOVOLOOP: We have quite a ways to go, that is the truth. Right now, you know, there's -- if you look at the
plastic gap, as we call it, right, which is how much plastic will be produced, versus how much of it will be sustainably managed. The gap is
huge. And the gap is growing.
And the amount of innovation infrastructure that needs to exist for us to close this gap is significant. We're talking about, you know, billions,
hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars pouring in, you know, year- over-year, and so those are numbers that, you know, right now, we're not seeing and so it comes back to your question of what comes first? I think
we need to actually establish a real ecosystem here to incentivize more companies like Novoloop to exist and also be able to scale up the
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: One thing I've learned about covering climate over the years is that essentially, it's an
existential problem. However, it has to be solved within the existing framework of things like private equity, capital, government partnerships,
private-public partnerships, government action, regulation, and the like.
What have you found is the best way forward for your company, in terms of capital, in terms of relationships, in terms of making progress?
WANG: I think the most important thing is actually just from -- you're talking to a startup entrepreneur here, right? The most important thing has
been getting a real product out in the market, getting to the market, and delivering what we call product market fit, right?
So that is a combination of talking to people, partnering with people, developing relationships, and internally leading innovation in the right
direction to really create solutions for real world problems.
QUEST: But have you found that partners are more receptive to dealing partnering on these climate -- companies involved in things like climate
issues and plastics in the ocean? You know, thirty years ago, it was fringe stuff. Today it is mainstream stuff.
WANG: You've got that absolutely right.
QUEST: And bankers and private equity and joint venture capital is now searching, they're not looking at you as a two-headed monster.
WANG: You know, I'm not quite sure if we are really that weird looking, because, you know, the plastic issue has been well known for a couple of
years. But you're absolutely right in that, you know, there's been kind of a stall, a hesitation, you know, even as people were talking about or the
past couple of years.
But there is real movement here in this space. You know, you can see it right now from the job market. You know, in climate tech. If you're a smart
engineer, if you're somebody who has been in the sustainability space, you're hot stuff right now.
Companies in our space, you know, are able to raise funding. We're able to find the partnerships that we're looking for. We're able to move things
along generally much faster, and it is an exciting place to be right now because of that increase in interest. It really is in the mainstream right
NEWTON: You can learn more about the environmental challenges facing our planet and what's being done to try and address some of them on our
website. Head to cnn.com/calltoearth.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Paula Newton in New York.
Richard is up next with "Call to Earth: Protectors of the Planet." You will see that just after the break.
QUEST (voice-over): It's the fate of our planet at sake. Finding ways for humans to live in harmony with nature.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Data that we're collecting is giving us power.
QUEST (voice-over): Now we travel the globe to meet five extraordinary individuals. Get ready for romance, drama and plenty of dedication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we work together, if we can bring everyone on board, we can achieve the unachievable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then we'll really see positive benefits for our Earth.
QUEST (voice-over): We'll reach dizzying heights, dive to the depths, follow the footsteps of these conservation champions who are making our
planet worth protecting.
QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. I'm in one of the most exciting cities in the world, New York, a veritable cornucopia of delights that has, at its
heart, its jewel, Central Park, where we are going to meet the protectors of the planet.
QUEST (voice-over): New York's Central Park, grand, unique and, for more than 160 years, has been the natural escape for those who live here and
visitors alike. Today, this conservation success story is thanks to the Central Park Conservancy. It is a non-profit celebrating its 40th
anniversary. It maintains 843 acres of nature in the middle of Manhattan, in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Belvedere Castle right in the center of the park, just next to The Great Lawn. And if I look down, I can see Turtle Pond, where there are five
species of turtles that I need to visit. I'm on their way.
Aren't they gorgeous?
The most common species of turtle here is the red-eared slider. That, of course, is highly protected in Central Park.
QUEST (voice-over): But in other parts of the world, turtles are under threat.
In Bangladesh, our first conservationist has made it his business to protect and breed turtles for the next generation.
My colleague, Kristie Lu Stout, has more.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a leafy corner of Bhawal National Park, a high-stakes courtship is taking place.
The future of this critically endangered species in Bangladesh depends on it. The Asian giant tortoise was thought to be extinct in the country until
10 years ago, when a few were discovered in the wild with the help of this man.
And now conservation biologist Shahriar Caesar Rahman is on a mission to bring them back.
SHAHRIAR CAESAR RAHMAN, CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST: We realize if we want to prevent an extinction of the species from Bangladesh, we must take drastic
STOUT (voice-over): Rahman runs a conservation and breeding center for four critically endangered species of turtle and tortoise in an effort to
help restore their populations in the wild.
RAHMAN (voice-over): Unfortunately, most of the species are threatened with extinction. The major conservation challenges are hunting for food and
pet trade (ph) and the destruction of their fresh water ecosystem and forest habitat.
STOUT (voice-over): On the front line is the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a remote region on the Bangladeshi border with India and Myanmar, considered
a biodiversity hot spot but one that is threatened by poaching, logging and agricultural development.
Rahman first visited in 2011. And working with the indigenous Mro community, he and his team trained former hunters as parabiologists or
citizen scientists that collect data and monitor species to help protect local wildlife.
RAHMAN (voice-over): We are empowering them to be the guardian of the ecosystem that they have been protecting for hundreds of years. Those
people become the ears and eyes for conservation. And eventually, when the species are released back in the wild, these are the individuals who will
be monitoring them every day.
STOUT (voice-over): While there, Rahman learned that a few Asian giant tortoises still existed in the region. And the idea for the breeding center
was born. These juveniles have been bred from specimens rescued from hunters by Rahman's team of parabiologists, like Passing Mro.
PASSING MRO, PARABIOLOGIST (through translator): In the past, our family hunted. But today, we don't hunt the tortoises. We make people understand
not to hunt them, as they are on the verge of extinction. I feel very happy to work on it. If we don't, the tortoises will have vanished from the
RAHMAN (voice-over): The captive breds are critically endangered Asian giant tortoises, which are bred here in our center for the first time in
Bangladesh. We will be releasing these individuals back into the wild end of this year.
STOUT (voice-over): His hopes for the future of the species in Bangladesh, slow and steady wins the race.
RAHMAN (voice-over): I do believe there are reasons to be optimistic. And it all depends on us and the future generation to make the decision and to
QUEST: Welcome back to Call to Earth: Protectors of the Planet. The Great Lawn in Central Park, on a weekday morning, it is a haven of tranquility
for reflection or exercise.
Now imagine this same space, packed with tens of thousands of people at the concert.
QUEST (voice-over): You know where this is going. With people comes plastic.
With more than 42 million visitors a year, Central Park has become really good at handling large amounts of garbage. It is hard to imagine this trash
ending up on a beach in the Galapagos Islands. And that's the problem faced by our next planet protector.
ELLIE MACKAY, ELLIPSIS EARTH (voice-over): Plastic as a material is actually amazing. It can be flexible, it can be see-through, it can be
colored. You can mold it into different shapes.
The issue with plastic is not the plastic itself; it's the mismanagement of its material. These are items that are designed to last for up to a
thousand years and we use them for a few seconds.
My name is Ellie Mackay. I'm the CEO and founder of Ellipsis Earth. We use computer software to map litter. The ocean is, unfortunately, the garbage
patch for the rest of the world, which 99 percent of all the plastic that we know enters the ocean goes missing.
And that to me is an incredible statistic that actually triggered me forming Ellipsis.
Because I couldn't understand how we can solve the problem if we don't even know where to look.
Drones are a game changer. They allow us to survey an entire stretch of coastline in a few minutes. So just this morning we have been able to
survey several miles of this U.K. coastline and our software has already identified over 800 different items of trash, the majority of those being
One of the places that we went to, when this problem really hit home for me, was the Galapagos archipelago, which is a collection of islands off the
coast of Ecuador. There are coastlines there that have not changed since Darwin set foot on those beaches all those years ago.
The only difference is, you are never more than 43 centimeters away from a piece of trash.
While it was really depressing to come back with data that showed thousands and thousands of trash items, we were able to turn that into something
hopeful because that data could be used as evidence for the need to come up with a solution.
And it meant that we were able to discuss with policymakers, along the South American coastline, to commit to reduce the river of plastic
pollution in their countries. Since we did the baseline survey, they have introduced a ban on takeaway containers across all of the islands as well
as plastic bags.
And they are looking at introducing potentially a plastics tax as well. So when we talk about plastic pollution, quite often we hear this word
microplastics, which is referring to plastic particles that are less than 5 millimeters in size.
They're very dangerous because they get everywhere. And they're easy to ingest for wildlife. What we're focusing on is tracking, mapping and
capturing macroplastics, because they will eventually break down into microplastics. So if you collect one plastic bottle, that's 25,000
microplastics potential pieces in the future.
It's about getting our trash statistics down far enough that they can become manageable by local communities, making sure that we contain, we
reuse and we recycle as much of our trash as possible. And the data that we are collecting is giving us the power. It's giving us the information that
we need to do that.
QUEST (voice-over): Welcome back to "Protectors of the Planet," where I'm enjoying learning about conservation efforts in New York's Central Park and
around the world. From Sheep Meadow, I can see the juxtaposition between the green of the park and the density of Manhattan.
Another global city enmeshed with nature is Hong Kong. And there, the nature is very much under threat. So our next planet protector is using the
past to help protect the present and make it sustainable for the future.
JONATHAN CYBULSKI, MARINE BIOLOGIST AND HISTORICAL ECOLOGIST (voice-over): You might not expect it in such a highly urbanized city but Hong Kong
contains high levels of biodiversity. Hong Kong has over 25 percent of the recorded marine species for all of coastal China. And it only makes up 0.03
percent of the coastline.
And for corals, which is what I study, there's more species of coral in Hong Kong's waters than there are in the entire Caribbean Sea.
My name is Jonathan Cybulski and I'm a marine biologist and a historical ecologist. And I live in Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated
cities on Earth.
But just 30 minutes from the city center, you can be in a place like this, surrounded by nature and ocean and biodiversity. It's amazing.
As a historical ecologist, it's my job to tell the story of an ecosystem through time. I look to the past to try and see what an ecosystem was like
before humans, so that we can identify its greatest threats and then help to alleviate that threat, to give it the best chance for survival into the
In Hong Kong, we have two main types of coral. The first, this is known as a massive coral. The other type, a branching coral. This is what really
promotes biodiversity because there's more areas for things to live.
But unfortunately, these corals are the most susceptible to human stress. So what we're left with is just the more massive corals, which don't
promote as much biodiversity.
First, I collected coral fossils from all around Hong Kong to see what coral communities were like in the past. And then monitored modern-day
corals to see where they were growing. And there is a simple but strong pattern.
In areas where there is really poor water quality, we have very low marine biodiversity. As to move to areas with better water quality, that
biodiversity increases. Human waste, agricultural waste, your garbage, everything eventually falls and finds its way into the marine environment.
Anything that you can do as a human to be more sustainable will actually, in the long run, benefit the marine environment, even if you don't know it
There needs to be as much diversity in our strategy of solving the problem as there is the diversity that we're trying to protect. And if we can get a
city like this to start making change, then we'll really see positive benefits for our Earth.
QUEST (voice-over): As you can see, the more we use our cities to protect the environment, the better we will be. But there is one unalterable truth:
biodiversity relies on clean water.
Our next conservationist and Rolex Awards laureate protects a different marine ecosystem, with consequences for both ocean and human life.
KERSTIN FORSBERG, ROLEX AWARDS LAUREATE: There are many reasons why we should protect the ocean. We're talking about 70 percent of our planet's
surface and over 95 percent of where there can be life. So it's really the most important part of our planet.
My name is Kerstin Forsberg, I'm a marine scientist and conservationist and I work to protect giant manta rays in my homeland of Peru.
In the past, they were not protected, they were being harvested and many times even while citizens didn't even know that giant manta rays existed in
Manta rays typically have small population sizes. We were talking about a species that has really been jeopardized by this continuous
When we were able to secure national protection for giant manta rays, that's what makes me feel like an achievement, once you start creating
What Planeta Oceano does is we really bring people together. We empower people to conserve marine environments.
When I grew up, I wasn't taught about the ocean as much as I should have been in school. And, really as I moved forward in my career and really
recognizing how this issue was also going on worldwide, there is still so much to do to engage ocean issues within the curriculum within classrooms.
It's not enough to just research or educate. You need to think about creative solutions that can support livelihoods of these impoverished
We've been working with fishermen to build manta ray ecotourism and this serves not just as a way for fishermen to contribute to conservation but
also to develop additional income that is really benefiting them and their communities. There's fishermen that perhaps in the past harvested giant
mantas but that now go out with us to study them.
They don't throw plastic bags in the water anymore. If they see a plastic bag in the water they'll pick it up and they will bring it back to coast.
They will talk about sustainable fisheries and how they can't fish juvenile fish, for example.
You start seeing changes in behavior thanks to this, one flagship species that has created even more care for the environment.
For me, it's always about looking at those connections with the people, meeting with the teachers, seeing a smile on a child's face, working with
local volunteers, that's what gives me most hope really.
QUEST (voice-over): I'm no bird twitcher or ornithologist but I'm not even sure really what I'm looking for but I do know that there are more than 200
species of birds that use Central Park as a stopover.
They fly and rest here on their way to migrate. Stopovers like this are vital for many species, as bird habitats are increasingly under attack from
human development across the globe. And that's why the work of our next conservationist and Rolex Awards laureate is so important. CNN's Cyril
Vanier with this report.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not your typical love story. But in the lush grasses of this Rwandan nature reserve, romance
is in the air.
OLIVIER NSENGIMANA, WILDLIFE CONSERVATIONIST (voice-over): Finding a partner is a process, like humans. They will date, dance for each other
and, if they like each other, they will stay together, for sometimes for life.
VANIER (voice-over): Grey Crowned Cranes are an endangered species, facing threats from an illegal pet trade and the destruction of their wetland
habitat for agriculture. To help protect these birds, in 2014, the Rwandan government set up an amnesty program for pet cranes kept in captivity with
the help of this man, Olivier Nsengimana.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): We've lost about 80 percent of the population. And in 2012, we were estimating the population to be around 300 remaining
in the wild. I told myself, someone has got to do something about it.
VANIER (voice-over): Trained as a vet, Nsengimana is the founder of the Rwandan Wildlife Conservation Association.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): Looks like he'll have a little injury on the toenail.
VANIER (voice-over): His organization has rescued over 200 cranes from captivity. And more are bred in their facilities, like this juvenile.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): These are flight feathers, they are in really good shape.
VANIER (voice-over): But many kept as pets have had their wings broken to prevent their escape and are unable to survive in the wild, finding
sanctuary at the organization's nature reserve at Umusambi Village.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): Cranes in Rwanda, they are seen as a symbol of wealth and longevity. So what we've done is really to educate people, tell
them, hey, actually, you can still love them but have them in their natural environment.
But if we keep taking them, our kids or grandkids might not be able to see them.
Growing up as a young boy, I had the love for nature.
(Speaking foreign language).
VANIER (voice-over): A love he has shared through his work with schools and local community groups since 2014.
Educating and inspiring others to protect their environment, he wants Rwandans to feel like the country's wildlife belongs to them.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): We come from these communities. We have that kind of power to really connect with them and recreate that kind of love and the
ownership and pride that people have in the animals.
VANIER (voice-over): That love has taken flight. Nsengimana says there are now over 800 cranes estimated to be in the wild in Rwanda, putting the
country's most romantic bird on the path to recovery.
NSENGIMANA (voice-over): This is really huge. It's like a story that we share with all Rwandans, that if we work together, if we can bring everyone
(INAUDIBLE), we can achieve the unachievable.
QUEST (voice-over): Achieving the unachievable by working together. It's the core message of Call to Earth.
And the five people we met today, they prove that, when we work together, everything is possible. I'm Richard Quest. You'll have to excuse me. I have
a park to explore.