Today, Wednesday, April 22, marks the 50th celebration of International Mother Earth Day—a unified response to an environment in crisis.
The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Climate Action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
According to earthday.org, climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
For the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans—10 per cent of the US population at the time—took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognised as the planet’s largest civic event.
Pope Francis, commenting on the celebration of Earth Day during his general audience on Wednesday, urged people to show solidarity with the weak and vulnerable and to protect humanity’s common home.
According to Pope Francis, Earth Day “is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family”.
“As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst,” the Pope said according to a Catholic News Agency article.
He called for a renewed sense “of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God’s home,” adding that “this should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground”.
Pope Francis said selfishness had led people to fail in their responsibility “to be guardians and stewards of the earth.”
He shared a Spanish saying “God forgives always; we men forgive sometimes; the earth never forgives.”
Pope Francis also noted his appreciation for national and local environmental movements which “appeal to our consciences”, though he said it will still “be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us the obvious: we have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us.”
“We can each contribute in our own small way,” he encouraged.
What can I do for Earth Day 2020?
On this Earth Day, earthday.org invites mankind to “seize all the tools and actions” that we have, big and small, to change our lives and change our world, not for one day, but forever.
While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward.
“We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we’re also more connected than ever,” the Earth Day Network mission said.
Persons are invited to join the environmental movement for 24 hours of action in a global digital mobilisation that drives actions big and small, gives diverse voices a platform and demands bold action for people and the planet.
The 24 hours of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day will fill the digital landscape with global livestreamed conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.
Visit earthday.org as we build an Earth Day unlike any other.