Happy Earth Day 2021.
We have spent over a year trying to take care of ourselves fending off the COVID-19 pandemic. But with vaccines becoming more and more available, it’s a good time to shift our focus to preserving the health of Mother Earth.
More than 190 countries observe the day, with the United States being among the front of the pack in celebrating the first Earth Day in April 1970.
It serves as a good reminder for saving precious things. Our planet has been under siege, as you may know.
There is sobering news on many fronts, including a State of the Global Climate report from the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) citing that the global average temperature in 2020 was about 1.2-degree Celsius above pre-industrial level.
The report says that number is “dangerously close” to the 1.5-degree Celsius limit advocated by scientists to fight off the worst impacts of climate change.
“We are on the verge of the abyss,” Secretary-General António Guterres said at a press conference announcing the findings.
So, what can be done to lessen the blow to Mother Earth?
UNICEF USA has it covered. Its focus this year is on children, who are most severely impacted by the forces of climate change.
“Today, over a billion children live in areas subject to devastating flooding, and 160 million live in areas plagued by drought. Both threaten their survival,” notes an Earth Day piece on the UNICEF web site.
Among its bullet-point recommendations:
● Financing and enhancing the adaptation and resilience of services children depend upon most, such as water, health, education and nutrition.
● Reducing emissions and pollution.
● Developing child-centric climate change response plans.
● Empowering children as agents of change by including them in decision-making on climate change programs and policy.
And then there is you, and the simple things that make a difference:
●Pick up your trash and recycle.
● Don’t even think about throwing a cigarette butt in the ocean.
● Volunteer for cleanups in your community.
● Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
● Plant a tree.
In short, be kind to Planet Earth. She’s the only one we’ve got.