As every year, Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22nd, a day thanks to which a marginal issue such as environmental awareness was in its beginnings gradually evolved to become a general concern worldwide and to be included in the political and social agenda as it is today.
The melting of the poles, the extinction of countless species of animals and the deterioration of their habitat, the deforestation of millions of hectares of forests or the high levels of pollution (at all levels) are just some of the most common examples of the consequences of the mistreatment of our planet. All of them are key points that highlight the climate emergency that the Earth is suffering and, therefore, Earth Day 2021 focuses on this issue and on launching a call for climate action to face this enormous challenge for the future of humanity.
Why is it commemorated on April 22?
This Thursday, April 22 is Earth Day, also known as International Mother Earth Day. This day was approved at the UN General Assembly in 2009 but we have to go back to the 1960s to understand its origins. It was exactly at the gates of 1970 when U.S. Governor Gaylor Nelson launched numerous campaigns and demonstrations in favor of the environment and nature.
Nelson succeeded in mobilizing millions of people in the United States to try to raise awareness of the common problems that affect us around pollution, biodiversity conservation and other environmental and nature-related concerns to protect the Earth. This political and social pressure led the U.S. government to create the Environmental Protection Agency and to implement a series of laws aimed at protecting the environment.
Gaylord Nelson chose the date in such a way as to maximize participation on college campuses, as he saw it as a meeting between teachers and students. He determined that the week of April 19-25 was the best bet, as this did not coincide with exams or spring break.10 Moreover, this date had no conflict with religious celebrations such as Passover or Pesach, and it was too late in the spring to have decent weather. More students would prefer to be in class and there would be less competition with other midweek events, so he chose Wednesday, April 22. The day also coincided with the birthday anniversary of John Muir, noted conservationist.
It was two years later, in 1972, that the first international conference on the environment was held: the Stockholm Earth Summit, which sought to raise awareness among world leaders of the magnitude of the problems and threats facing the environment.
Climate emergency, the central issue of Earth Day 2021
Although in this 2021, its celebration is marked by the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, we cannot ignore another crisis that also affects all levels: the environmental crisis that affects our entire planet. For this reason, this day seeks to put the focus on all the problems and threats that affect the environment and the survival of species.
Each year, World Earth Day focuses on a specific theme, and this year, 2021, the focus is on the climate emergency, as a call for climate action is needed, one of the greatest challenges that threatens the future of humanity.
The climate emergency is one of the key issues that the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to address. It was in 2015, with the Paris Agreement on climate change, when all UN member states approved 17 goals as part of the 2030 Agenda in which a plan is established to achieve them in a maximum period of 15 years.
In relation to the climate emergency, it is worth noting that the agreement also aims to strengthen the capacity of countries to deal with the effects of climate change through appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity development framework.