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Earth Day turns 50 amid a global pandemic and climate breakdown

22/04/2020 - 08:46
News stories

As we mark half a century of Earth Day, we are faced with two crises: the coronavirus pandemic; and the gradually growing disaster for our climate. We must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for the novel coronavirus. But we still have time to prepare for the climate crisis in every part of the world.

Five years into the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the world is at a checkpoint. The coronavirus pandemic will not shut us down. On the other hand it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet, a world where pandemics and extreme weather events span the globe, leaving already vulnerable communities even more at risk.

While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we’re also more connected than ever. We’re all in this together, here on Earth.

Human health and planetary health are interlinked. To protect one, we must protect the other. Millions rallied behind this idea to create the first Earth Day in 1970, and, 50 years later, we must rally behind it again.

We must build the largest, most diverse online mobilization in history in defence of the environment. Our world needs a united response for bold action.

On Earth Day 2020, we say enough is enough.

The urgency has never been greater, and the stakes have never been higher – we are now in an environmental emergency and a climate breakdown.

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 will mark a pivotal year for our planet.

YOU too can join this global action for our planet!

April 22, 2020, is a key moment for citizens, institutions and organizations everywhere to demonstrate our shared demand for bold, transformative change. On this historic day of climate action, we will show our collective power and unity. With millions of young people and adults flooding the digital landscape with messages of hope, optimism and, above all, action.

  • Earth Day 2020 will drive actions big and small, give diverse voices a platform and demand bold action for people and the planet.
  • Tune into Earth Day Live on April 22 -24 as millions of people around the world go online for a three-day mobilization to stop the climate emergency. Watch, discuss and participate in a livestream featuring stories, performances and opportunities for digital collective action.
  • Take the Earth Day daily challenge
  • World Wildlife Fund will kick off a campaign called #BillionShadesOfGreen on Earth Day, encouraging you and everyone around the world to share your most colourful photos of nature – from breathtaking landscapes from past outdoor adventures, to birds on our balcony while we stay home – in so doing, brighten each other’s days with a little more colour and positivity. The best photos will be displayed on the Billion Shades of Green homepage.

The global community has shown how it can take action in a time of crisis. Everyone has a role to play in the global, unified responses. When we work together, even small actions can help overcome big challenges.

Young people have been advocating strongly for the planet. The EU and UNICEF have partnered with young people through the UPSHIFT programme, which provides young people with the opportunities to design projects or to access other non-formal learning opportunities, thereby empowering the next generation to “walk the talk” of positive change.

A healthy planet for every child is a dream worth fighting for

Whilst staying at home because of the coronavirus crisis, young people’s activism in response to the climate crisis continues online. Furthermore, as young people show solidarity with the older generation by staying home, it can also be a time to talk about the type of world we want to create together.

While Earth Day may be going digital, our goal remains the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.

No matter where you are, you can make a difference.

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