The theme for this year’s observance is “Restore Our Earth”.
If the last year has taught us anything, the fight against climate change and the spread of deadly diseases worldwide is now at our doorstep, and much sooner than anticipated.
The only way forward? It is the restoration of earth’s natural processes and much wider adoption of emerging green technologies.
That means supporting alternative energy projects, ridding the world’s oceans of plastics, protection of wildlife populations. restoring ecosystems and forests, and improving farming practices.
In the age of COVID-19, restoration is not only a practical way to reduce climate change but it also brings hope.
- Earth Day 2021 is a global call – to world leaders, innovators, industry and investment leaders and influencers – to take concerted action and find better solutions to restore our planet.
- The pandemic that nearly every country is still dealing with is a harrowing reminder of how badly damaged the world’s ecosystems are: Biodiversity loss is an important cause of emerging infectious diseases and poses many other risks to businesses, society and the global economy.
- Humanity’s rapacious demand for resources and ecological services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2020, the date when our use of resources exceeded the Earth’s capacity to replace them, was 22 August.
Climate change and other environmental degradations are threatening Earth’s natural systems, leading to new and fatal diseases that can cause the global economy to break down.
Five pillars of action on ecosystem restoration.
- The Canopy Project works to reforest areas in dire need of rehabilitation, including where communities are most at risk from climate change and environmental degradation.
- Foodprints for the Future measures the environmental impact of growing, producing, transporting and storing food — from the natural resources consumed to the pollution caused and the greenhouse gases emitted.
- The Great Global Cleanup encourages people to reduce and remove as much waste as possible, at a time when, for example, 270 000 people die prematurely every year from uncontrolled burning of household waste, and two billion people live without any waste collection services.
- The climate and environmental literacy initiative is designed to complement civic education, to help create jobs, build a green consumer market and enable people to engage meaningfully with their governments on environmental issues.
- Global Earth Challenge involves volunteers contributing to scientific research by monitoring threats to environmental and human health in their communities. An open platform helps researchers access high-quality data to assess international policies such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Earth Day’s theme links tightly with the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, launching on World Environment Day on 5 June. One of the objectives is to link opportunities and initiatives related to ecosystem restoration and businesses interested in sustainable production and impact investment.