UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for commitment to restoring the planet, and to making peace with nature, in his message to mark International Mother Earth Day, celebrated annually on 22 April.
This year’s observation is taking place as the planet is at “a tipping point”, he said, as humanity continues to abuse the natural world.
End the war on nature
“We heedlessly plunder the Earth’s resources, deplete its wildlife and treat air, land and seas as dumping grounds. Crucial ecosystems and food chains are being pushed to the brink of collapse”, the UN chief stated.
“This is suicidal. We must end our war on nature and nurse it back to health”.
The Secretary-General said ending this war calls for “bold climate action” to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Stronger steps to protect biodiversity, and reducing pollution and waste, are also needed.
Mr. Guterres assured that these steps will not only safeguard the planet, “our only home”, but will also create millions of new jobs.
“Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a chance to set the world on a cleaner, greener, more sustainable path”, the Secretary-General said.
“On International Mother Earth Day, let us all commit to the hard work of restoring our planet and making peace with nature”.
'A call to action'
For the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Day highlights the need to shift to a more sustainable economy that benefits both people and the planet.
“Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action”, the agency said. “Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID-19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem”.
“As the climate emergency intensifies, the transition towards climate stability becomes increasingly critical. Progress will depend on countries and their ability to cover ground on their commitments under the Paris Agreement and eventually, their collective contributions to keep the global average temperature well below 2°C.”