Earth Day

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    Every year, 22nd April is observed as Earth Day to pledge support for environmental protection.

    About the Day

    • History
      • The idea of commemorating such a day was propounded by Gaylord Nelson, an American environmentalist and politician.
      • Earth Day was first observed in 1970 against environmental degradation.
        • It was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other issues such as smog and polluted rivers.
      • In 2009, the United Nations designated 22nd April as ‘International Mother Earth Day’.
    • Aims
      • To build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and the planet.
      • To diversify, educate, activate the environmental movement and raise awareness worldwide.
    • Theme for 2021: ‘Restore Our Earth’.
      • It focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
      • Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is a chance to set the world on a cleaner, greener, more sustainable path.
    • It is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.
      • Earth Day Network is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.
      • Headquarter: Washington DC, USA.

    Significance

    • The landmark Paris Agreement, which sets a common target to reduce global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, was signed on this day in 2016.
      • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
      • It was adopted by 196 Parties at Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris, on 12th December 2015 and entered into force on 4th November 2016.
      • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
    • It also recognizes a collective responsibility 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, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration (Earth Summit).
      • The Earth Summit was a direct consequence of the Brundtland Commission’s Report.
      • It resulted in the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Statement on Forest Principles and the Rio Declaration Agenda 21.
    • Several major climate-related events are taking place in parallel on Earth Day in 2021,  including the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by the US and ‍an Exponential Climate Action Summit on Financing the Race to Zero emissions.
      • US Leaders’ Summit
        • After re-entering the global climate?fight, US President Biden is convening the Summit with the participation of 40 world leaders.
        • Aim: To galvanize efforts by the world’s major economies to keep the vital Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
        • Major economies are expected to announce their new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
      • Financing Transition to Net Zero Emissions
        • Focus: How to finance The Race to Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
        • The Exponential Climate Action Summit is a collaboration between We Don’t Have Time, the world’s largest social network for climate action,  communications technology firm Ericsson and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, whose mission is to halve emissions before 2030 through exponential climate action and solutions.
    Other Related Days and Observations

    • World Wildlife Day: 3rd March
    • World Water Day: 22nd March
    • Earth Hour: Second-to-last and last weekend of March, every year. (27th March in 2021)
    • World Biodiversity Day: 22nd May
    • World Environment Day: 5th June
    • World Oceans Day: 8th June

    Source: IE