This weekend, people around the globe are observing Earth Day, a day meant to emphasise on the need to protect the planet and preserve its environment. Several events and campaigns are being held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Here is everything you need to know about it:
1) First celebrated in 1970, the idea of commemorating such a day was propounded by Gaylord Nelson, a US senator from Wisconsin. Nelson, who had been a witness to the devastation caused by an enormous oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, felt the urgency of the matter.
2) On April 22, 1970, around 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. LIVE UPDATES
3) According to Earth Day Network, the event in 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labour leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Since then, more than one billion people in around 192 countries mark the event by extending their support for environmental protection.
4) According to the United Nations, International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
5) This day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
6) This year, Earth Day focuses on putting an end to plastic use and thereby reducing pollution. According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behaviour about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.
7) On Monday, the Eighth Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature will be held in the chamber of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The interactive dialogue will provide a platform to discuss sustainable production and consumption patterns in Harmony with Nature, as to ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
8) The dialogue also aims to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how to interact with the natural world and to improve the ethical basis of the relationship between humankind and the Earth in the context of sustainable development.