Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 18:10 UK

Rainforest film brings out stars

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News


Harrison Ford and other stars feature in the rainforest film

An array of celebrities have appeared alongside Prince Charles and an animated frog in a film to highlight the dangers of deforestation.

The stars, including actor Harrison Ford and football legend Pele, appear in the video to pledge their support to the Prince's Rainforest Project (PRP).

Viewers of the online 90-second film are being encouraged to sign-up to the project's "rainforest SOS" campaign.

The prince said he hoped it would build an online community calling for action.

Other famous faces appearing in the film include James Bond actor Daniel Craig, comedian Robin Williams, as well as the Prince of Wales's sons, Princes William and Harry.

Double act

"What happens in the rainforest has an immediate and powerful effect on our lives," explained actor and long-time environmental campaigner Harrison Ford.

Prince Charles with animated frog (Images: Prince's Rainforest Project)
The "frog and prince" theme was welcomed by Prince Charles

"The air we breathe, the clean air that's required, the services that ecosystems provide are beyond value," he added.

"I believe it is our moral responsibility to protect the environment, to save what we can of the planet's resources for future generations and our children."

The Hollywood star is featured in the film pledging his support, while a computer-generated frog sits on his shoulder.

Briony Mathieson, head of communications for the Prince's Rainforest Project, explained the idea behind why a frog featured in the film.

"There were a number of reasons why we really liked the 'frog and prince' concept," she said.

"Firstly, it is a fantastic symbol for the rainforest, and it is also an indicator species for climate change."

Ms Mathieson said that the Rainforest SOS website would also have online editing software, allowing people to make their own "mash-up" version of the film in which they could appear alongside the frog and celebrities, and then upload it on to the web.

Rainforest (Image: BBC)
We need to find ways to make forests worth more alive than dead
Tony Juniper, Prince's Rainforest Project's special adviser

Prince Charles said he felt it was important to attempt to reach out to an online audience.

"One of the internet's strengths is that it can enable diverse communities to come together to ensure that everybody's views and actions can really be made to count," he said.

"It provides the potential to create global determination for change on a vitally important issue."

Tony Juniper, the PRP's special adviser, said the initiative offered a novel way to raise fresh awareness of a long-standing problem.

"Tropical deforestation has been on the agenda of governments, international agencies and NGOs for more than three decades," he said.

The forests were the jewels in the crown of biodiversity, he told reporters at a briefing in central London.

The ecosystems were home to a sizeable percentage of the world's species, he added, and performed vital "ecological services", such as providing clean drinking water.

But more recently, scientists had also highlighted the importance of rainforests in the battle against climate change, Mr Juniper observed.

"If we are to limit the level of warming to a level that we can cope with, we need to stop deforestation."

Failure to do so would result in a "double whammy", he warned.

Deforestation not only accounted for about 20% of emissions from human activities, he said, but also reduced the tropical ecosystems' ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

He said: "Deforestation is essentially an economic problem and we need to find an economic solution.

"We need to find ways to make forests worth more alive than dead."

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