Tomorrow, over one billion people in 192 countries will take action to protect our shared environment. All across the globe, people are demanding climate action, cleaning up their local communities, meeting with their elected officials, planting trees, and teaching their children to protect our planet.
This year, in a rare and special event, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement reached this past December. It is no coincidence that the agreement is being opened for signatures on April 22nd, Earth Day.
“Earth Day is the largest, most recognisable face of the environmental movement,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “Millions of people in dozens of different countries will become lifelong environmentalists this and every Earth Day. Hundreds of thousands will be children – our planet’s future. They will join the more than 1 billion people who already use Earth Day to focus on the urgent need to stabilise and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, act locally, become climate voters, and protect their children’s futures.”
This year Earth Day Network is focusing on the urgent need to plant new trees and forests worldwide. Throughout the year, EDN sponsors and takes part in tree plantings across the US and worldwide. But this year they are raising the stakes. As the four year countdown to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020 begins, Earth Day Network is pledging to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide – one for every person on Earth.
“We have no higher priority this year than to make sure the United States, China, India, the EU, and all the largest CO2 emitters sign the Paris Agreement. EDN has launched a petition calling on world leaders – including President Obama — to show leadership. We need to prove that what happened in Paris last December was not all talk. We need to take action. Signing the Paris Agreement this Earth Day at the United Nations is just the beginning,” Rogers said. “That, coupled with our global activities, will make this the largest, most significant Earth Day in years. And it’s the perfect start in our countdown to Earth Day 2020, our 50th!”
Across the world, millions of schoolchildren and their teachers will take part in education, civic, and outdoor programmes that will teach them about the importance of clean air and water, how to begin a lifelong practice of civic participation, and experience the wonders of nature. In almost every country on Earth, citizens will be making demands of their governments to take action to address the climate crises, starting with the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Cover photo credit: Nattu, flickr/Creative Commons