International Mother Earth Day

Our planet is at a turning point. The massive global migration underway now from countryside to cities demands huge investments in energy, water, materials, waste, food distribution and transportation. At the same time, we are dealing with the fight against carbon emissions, climate change, air pollutants, marine debris and contaminated ground water.

Today, the 22nd of April is celebrated as International Mother Earth Day. This day is a globally celebrated holiday that often extends into Earth Week – a full seven days of events focused on green awareness. Typically on April 22 men, women, and children around the world will collect garbage, plant trees, clean up coral reefs, show movies, sign petitions, and plan for a better future for our planet.

Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet Earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit. The Earth and its ecosystems are our home. In order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.

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International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. It promotes the view that the Earth as an entity sustains all living things found in nature. Shared responsibilities and inclusiveness is at the heart of this day which allows us to rebuild man’s troubled and fractured relationship with nature. This cause can also unite people across nations as it is a common cause not dependant on existing strife and enemity. Today, more than ever, we need to remember what the Earth does for us and what we have given back to the Earth.

This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth, to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity. The International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.

The United Nations designated 22 April as International Mother Earth Day through a resolution adopted in 2009, joining civic groups that celebrated Earth Day earlier. The resolution recognises that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and that “it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.” The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”

In fact, the original roots go back to 1970 with the first American protests against air pollution due to amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles and irresponsible industries. Environmental protection was not a priority of the political agenda. Soon awareness of environment grew and the movement went global, especially during the nineties, with more than 140 countries joining the initiative through different environmental platforms. In 1992, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the first major conference in which Sustainable Development was the main issue discussed by member states.

Today many companies are implementing strategic ecological thinking as part of their strategy to be responsible global businesses. How can all of us be ecological warriors in our own small ways?

We should avoid driving and take public transportation when we leave our homes. Organisations should also allow employees to work remotely, which is what is happening in a huge way today. I really hope that once organisations see how effective remote working is, they do this even after we beat Covid-19 and lockdowns across the world are lifted. Building authorities across the world should look and mandate green materials when building or renovating. Everyone should avoid printing unnecessarily and if you do need to print anything, print it on both sides of the paper and also use paper that has been certified as being made from recycled paper. Recycle and upcycle everything you can including paper, clothes, bottles and cans. Save energy by turning off computers monitors, printers, copiers and lights at the end of each working day in your workplace and all switches which are not being used at home. You should also remove plugs when not needed. If you are using airconditioning, make sure you don’t keep the thermostat lower than 24 or 25 degrees celcius and also use a timer to maximise efficiency.

Did you know?
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours
Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours
Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of petrol
More than 30 million trees are cut down to produce a year’s supply of newspapers
Recycling a pound of steel saves enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for 26 hours.
One drip per second from a faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.
It takes between 400 and 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose. It takes an orange peel six months to decompose.
Using recycled glass uses 40% less energy than making products from all new materials.

A ton of paper made from recycled paper saves:
7,000 gallons of water
Between 17 and 31 trees
60 pounds of air pollutants

There’s an old Cree Indian proverb which is very apt here as an ending to this post – Only after the last tree has been cut down; Only after the last river has been poisoned; Only after the last fish has been caught; Only then can you find that money can’t be eaten. Remember we don’t have a Planet B!

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