Conservation and Biodiversity
Earth Day Network announces annual theme: Restore Our Earth
May 15, 2020
Today, Earth Day Network formally announced its theme for the next year: Restore Our Earth.
Restore Our Earth focuses on natural processes and emerging green technologies that can restore the world’s ecosystems. In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only way to address climate change.
By investing in nature-based solutions, Earth Day Network and its partners hope to reverse the heavy-carbon and industrial trends of the last century, creating a planet where humans work with nature, not against it. Soil management, reforestation and species conservation are just a few of these potential solutions.
The Restore Our Earth theme also ties directly to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 very likely originated in wildlife, spreading from human-to-wildlife interactions. Climate change, deforestation and other habitat destruction only increase humans’ contact with wildlife.
“Scientists are sounding the alarm that unless we take better care of the planet, we risk more and even deadlier viruses ravaging our communities,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.
The Earth is capable of storing massive amounts of carbon. But these carbon sinks, as they’re called, are continually under attack by humans: the ocean is taking the heat for unchecked climate change, and deforestation rids the planet of trees, turning massive carbon sinks like the Amazon rainforest into carbon sources.
Restoring Earth also means restoring biodiversity. A United Nations report published last year found that nature’s decline is “unprecedented” and 1 million species are at risk of extinction. Preserving biodiversity not only protects threatened and endangered species — it also preserves what makes Earth, well, Earth: a home to millions of species, sharing land, water and air.
To protect that home, we need every country working together. Against threats as large and destructive as climate change or coronavirus, only a unified front can protect human and planetary health in the long run.
“The current pandemic has shut down the economies of the world and is causing large numbers of deaths. Climate change is an existential threat to our global civilization. Neither of these two challenges recognize national borders,” said Sir David King, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, who served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The theme announcement comes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 50th anniversary of Earth Day online. The first digital Earth Day still saw millions of people — and countless celebrities, scientists, artists and activists — tune in to participate in calls to action.
Climate change and other environmental issues have broken our natural systems, leading to new and fatal diseases and a breakdown of the global economy. But just as climate change and coronavirus painfully remind us of the harm we’ve caused, Restore Our Earth reminds us of the opportunities that lay ahead.