Our species took its first steps in a world covered in trees. Today, forests offer us sustenance, shelter, and clean the air that we breathe.
Earth Day, on 22 April we celebrate our home
One of Earth Day’s ambitious aims is to plant over a billion trees worldwide. To give something back to Mother Earth.
Loving and punisher mother, dispenser of life and death, everyone must follow her rules. She is Earth, our home, and the cradle of life. Humans once lived in harmony with the environment and, like any other living being, they took just as much as they needed to survive. Later, however, humans began to think to be above nature’s laws and be better than the other species they shared the planet with.
The origins of Earth Day
On the 22nd of April Earth Day is celebrated all around the world. Established by the United Nations, it aims to remind us that we must recover such original balance because we only have one planet and we must protect it.
The date recalls 22 April 1970, when 20 million Americans came together in a historic demonstration for the conservation of the environment, following a call by Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson.
The importance of environmental education
At its 47th edition, this year’s Earth Day is dedicated to environmental and climate literacy. As education is the foundation for progress, “we need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defence of environmental protection”. An effective environmental education will contribute to accelerating the adoption of laws and policies to safeguard the planet and climate, whilst taking steps towards a low-emissions society.
Many initiatives are organised worldwide to celebrate Earth. The main call to action is to give something back to our planet, by planting a tree or a plant and taking care of it until it becomes self-sustaining. Planting trees has never been so imperative considering the threats that climate change, pollution, deforestation and soil impoverishment pose to our planet.
Adopt the Planet, thanks to NASA
On Earth Day 2017, NASA has launched the initiative “Adopt the Planet”. The US space agency has divided our planet into 64,000 locations (of about 90 square kilometres), giving everyone the opportunity of adopting one. The website randomly designates an area, giving all scientific data from NASA satellites related to the “adopted” environment, from its vegetation to air quality. Whether you adopt a piece of sea ice in Antarctica or a lush piece of equatorial forest, treat it well, it’s our one and only planet.
Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
The tapir was reintroduced into Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the country’s most at-risk ecosystem. The species can play a key role in the forest’s recovery.
Forests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. This year’s International Day of Forests highlights the urgent changes needed to save them.
After a legal battle that lasted two years, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has revoked the permit to mine for coal in the forests of South Kalimantan in Borneo.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
Areas where the FARC guerrilla used to hold power in Colombia have faced record deforestation. Farmers cut down trees, burn land and plant grass for cows. Because, “what else can we do for a living here in the Colombian Amazon”? An intimate report from the heart of the felled forest in Caquetá.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.