‘Let’s take back the Earth’ on International Earth Day
EACH year on April 22, International Earth Day – known as International Mother Earth Day in the US – is celebrated by some 193 countries across the globe to demonstrate the support for environmental protection. Given the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hardly left a nation in the world unscathed, many experts argue that reducing the impact of each individual’s actions on the planet is one of the solutions to recovering from the scourge of Covid-19. The 2021 motto for Earth Day is ‘Let’s take back the Earth,’ a reminder that now more than ever we all have a responsibility to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres: “Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity for the world to embark on a cleaner, greener and more sustainable path. On International Mother Earth Day, let us all commit to working hard to restore our planet and make peace with nature.”
There are currently around a million animal and plant species in danger of extinction, while each year, we lose some 10 million hectares of forest land – an area roughly the size of Iceland. Destroying habitats and losing species results in a severe danger to biodiversity, something that is essential for slowing the spread of pathogens across the globe.
An unavoidable side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been the increased use of plastic products in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves and aprons, and experts hope that International Earth Day can serve as a reminder to individuals to cut down on plastic use wherever possible.
Each year, eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in our oceans, causing untold damage to the ecosystem. Discarded masks that find their way into the sea or rivers contain large amounts of carbon and polypropylene (PP) that release toxic substances into the waters while taking years to degrade.
The Congress of Deputies has approved for the first time in Spain a new Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition on Thursday, April 8 as a means of reiterating its commitment to combating global warming. One of the major assurances Spain has given internationally with this new regulation is to achieve climatic neutrality by 2050, thus almost eliminating its use of fossil fuels. In order to meet this ambitious target, the Spanish government has set various goals along the way, such as ensuring that by 2030, 74 per cent of the electricity used in this country will come from renewable sources. In addition, by 2030 Spain has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 23 per cent compared with 1990.
“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the largest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” – David Attenborough.