Earth Day is celebrated every year on the 22nd of April and this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth” which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking to restore the ecosystem. Earth Day this year will be celebrated virtually due to the Covid-19.
More than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, Earth Day has now gone digital with virtual events, such as environmental lectures and films, which will take place on Earth Day.
“Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a chance to set the world on a cleaner, greener, more sustainable path,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement marking Earth Day. “Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Let’s remind more than ever on this International Mother Earth Day that we need a shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet”, added the UN Secretary-General.
Earth Day was first observed in 1970 – 51 years ago, and was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other environmental issues such as smog and polluted rivers. Whilst the first Earth Day was focused on the United States, in 1990, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator of Earth Day, took it international and organized Earth Day events in 141 nations.
On this 51st day of Earth Day, there are five pillars that the official page earthday.org is advocating, namely, food and the environment, improving climate literacy, the great global clean up, the canopy project and the global earth challenge.
Food and Environment
For food and environment, the organisers of this year’s event want to fight climate change with diet change – by reducing your ‘foodprint’. A foodprint measures the environmental impact associated with the growing, producing, transporting and storing of our food – and while we should all be working to reduce our foodprints, there are many factors, including access, affordability, health and culture that help shape our decisions about what we eat. Sure, there’s not one prescribed diet for everyone, but the campaign aims to highlight the different ways individuals and institutions can make an impact.
Improving Climate Literacy
The founders of Earth Day believe that climate and environmental literacy will create jobs, build a green consumer market and allow citizens to engage with their governments in a meaningful way to solve climate change. They believe every school in the world must have compulsory, assessed climate and environmental education with a strong civic engagement component.
The Great Global Cleanup
Earthday.org encourages individuals and groups around the world, including families, employees, to participate in cleanup events by registering on their website and showcase to the world their commitment to a cleaner future.
The Canopy Project
With the Canopy Project, the aim is to improve our shared environment by planting trees across the globe. Since 2010, the organisers behind Earth Day have planted tens of millions of trees, working with global partners to reforest areas where there is a need of rehabilitation.
In Mauritius, based on data in 2020, the island was covered with 56,629 hectares of forest: Less than half of the total forest area was state-owned (22 031, hectares and most of which are planted forest); 18 447 hectares are private owned areas, and 6553 hectares covered with mountains, rivers and nature reserves.
The Global Earth Challenge
Global Earth Challenge™ is the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. The initiative works to integrate existing citizen science projects, as well as build the capacity for new ones, all as part of a larger effort to grow citizen science worldwide.
On this Earth Day, let us reduce our foodprint and restore our Earth!