Humanity is well aware of the devastating damage and pollution it have wrought on planet Earth, and “even with this knowledge, we have yet to change our ways,” United Nations Secretary-General said today urging people to reset their relationship with nature and every living being it sustains.
In his remarks on International Mother Earth Day, marked worldwide on 22 April, Ban Ki-moon called Earth humanity’s “ultimate mother – an astounding planet that has, since time immemorial, supported life in myriad forms.”
This year’s celebration marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations from Morocco to Uganda, Armenia to India.
“This can be the year our children and grandchildren will remember as when we chose to build a sustainable and resilient future – both for Mother Earth and all those that development has until now left behind. Let us seize this historic opportunity together,” he said.
“But the big decisions that lie ahead are not just for world leaders and policy-makers. Today, on Mother Earth Day, I ask each one of us to be mindful of the impacts our choices have on this planet, and what those impacts will mean for future generations,” he added.
“Not everyone is able to make sustainable choices, but for those who can, simple decisions such as switching to energy-efficient lighting or buying only what you will consume – when accumulated across billions of people – can transform our world. The power to change begins with you,” the UN chief added.
Humanity’s dependence on Earth makes it all the more astonishing that “we have allowed rapid and often unwise human development to disrupt so many of the delicate systems that have functioned harmoniously for millennia,” he said.
This year, the world aims to finalize the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and reach a new and meaningful universal climate change agreement. These processes have the potential to redefine the future for the better, by eradicating extreme poverty in all its forms.
“We are increasingly aware of the damage our species has wrought – the pollution, the dwindling resources, the species of flora and fauna forever gone, the rush towards tipping points that may alter the way our planet functions. Even with this knowledge, we have yet to change our ways,” he said.
“As a global community, we have the opportunity to make 2015 a turning point in human history,” Mr. Ban emphasized.
In a separate statement on the Day, Martin Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said: "Now more than ever, on this Earth Day, we must recognize the beauty of our earth, and work as one and deliver for all.”