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Explained: What is the significance of Earth Day 2020?

Earth Day 2020: The 50th anniversary has arrived while the world is facing the novel coronavirus pandemic.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 22, 2020 1:03:57 pm
Explained: What is the significance of Earth Day 2020? Earth Day was first observed in 1970. (Source: Pixabay)

Earth Day 2020: Today (April 22) is Earth Day, an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection. The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the annual celebrations. This year’s theme for Earth Day is ‘climate action’.

In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 as ‘International Mother Earth Day’.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “On International Day of Mother Earth, we all express gratitude to our planet for the abundance of care & compassion. Let us pledge to work towards a cleaner, healthier & more prosperous planet. A shout out to all those working at the forefront to defeat COVID-19. #EarthDay2020.”

“Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID-19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem,” the UN said on its website.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption.”

Also read | Google marks 50th anniversary of Earth Day with colourful, animated doodle

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was first observed in 1970, when 20 million took to the streets to protest against environmental degradation. The event was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other issues such as smog and polluted rivers.

For the next 50 years, Earth Day has played an important role in environmental activism.

The landmark Paris Agreement, which brings almost 200 countries together in setting a common target to reduce global greenhouse emissions, was signed on Earth Day 2016.

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According to earthday.org, Earth Day aims to “build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and the planet.” The movement’s mission is “to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.”

Earth Day 2020

This year, Earth Day celebrations have arrived while the world is facing the novel coronavirus pandemic. The UN said on its website, “Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) like COVID-19.”

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United Nations Environment said on its website, “An occasion planned to bring people physically together across a series of events, COVID-19 has now prompted a dramatic shift to completely digital and virtual platforms. Earth Day 2020 calls for 24 hours of actions, big and small, for people and the planet.

“On this 50th anniversary, civil society organizers hope to fill the world’s digital landscape with global conversations, positive acts, performances, webinars and events supporting urgent action on climate change,” the statement added.

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