Every year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.
Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day.
Earth Day is now the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. Today, it is the world’s largest secular observance celebrated by more than a billion people in 192 countries, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species
The theme for this year’s Earth Day is to protect endangered species. Why such a theme and what’s the urgency of saving threatened species? Just look at what is happening to the species on our planet?
- The number of land animals has fallen by 40% since 1970.
- In the same time period, marine animal populations have also fallen by 40%.
- 40% of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline.
- Animal populations in freshwater ecosystems have plummeted by 75% since 1970.
- Insect populations have declined by 75% in some parts of the world.
- About a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have already been damaged beyond repair, and 75% of the world’s coral reefs are at risk from local and global stresses.
- It is estimated that humans have impacted 83% of Earth’s land surface, which has affected many ecosystems as well as the range in which specific species of wildlife used to exist.
The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far-reaching.
If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy. All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement.
Earth Day Network has urged everyone to work together to protect endangered and threatened species such as bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more. It is asking people to join its “Protect our Species” campaign and foster these goals:
- Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
- Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
- Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
- Encourage individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
Get Involved with Earth Day 2020
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