Earth Day and Climate Change Progress

Earth Day and Climate Change Progress: Advancing Sustainability for a Greener Future

Earth Day and Climate Change Progress: The theme this year is “Planet vs. Plastics,” which aims to increase public awareness of the detrimental effects that plastic pollution has on both human and environmental health. Earth Day 2024: The planet will commemorate the 54th Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year. The 2024 theme, Planet vs. Plastics, revolves around the idea of building a plastic-free planet for generations to come.

What is Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote environmental protection and sustainability. The day is observed worldwide, with events and activities aimed at engaging people in environmental causes and encouraging positive actions to protect the planet.

Earth Day Origin

Earth Day began in 1970, initiated by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was concerned about the environmental degradation occurring in the United States and wanted to bring attention to the issue. He proposed a national day of environmental teach-ins to raise awareness and encourage political action. The first Earth Day saw millions of people across the United States participating in protests, rallies, and educational events, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Purpose

Earth Day aims to draw attention to a range of environmental issues, such as climate change, pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and other ecological threats. It also seeks to inspire individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to take action to address these challenges and work toward a more sustainable future.

Theme of Earth Day

The theme this year is “Planet vs. Plastics,” which aims to increase public awareness of the detrimental effects that plastic pollution has on both human and environmental health.

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Activities and Impact

Earth Day is marked by a variety of activities and events, including:

  • Educational Programs: Schools, universities, and community organizations hold events to educate people about environmental issues.
  • Clean-up Campaigns: Volunteers participate in activities like cleaning up parks, beaches, and other public spaces.
  • Tree Planting: Many Earth Day events focus on planting trees to help combat deforestation and promote a greener environment.
  • Advocacy and Protests: Activists and environmental groups use Earth Day to call for stronger environmental policies and raise awareness about climate change and other issues.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Social media, websites, and public events are used to spread awareness and encourage people to take action in their daily lives.

The latest science from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030

Global Climate 2023

The provisional State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirms that 2023 is set to be the warmest year on record. Data until the end of October shows that the year was about 1.4 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial 1850-1900 baseline. The past nine years, 2015 to 2023, were also the warmest on record. “Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low. It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

Overall, the report estimates that the world is currently on track to heat up roughly 2.8 degrees Celsius, or 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Earth Day 2024

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year. This is one of the largest environmental movements globally, with around 1 billion people participating to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainability. The theme for Earth Day 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics,” emphasizing the need to reduce plastic production and pollution by 60% by 2040​ (World Economic Forum)​.

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The holiday is both a grim reminder of the work that must be done and a celebration of the progress that has been made when it comes to climate change efforts. It’s also been the catalyst for actions including the creation of international climate agreements and environmental agencies.

This year’s theme is Planet vs. Plastics, which calls on government leaders, businesses, and everyday people to reduce plastic production by 60% by 2040. It is also calling for the full elimination of single use plastics by the end of this decade. 

Climate Change Progress

Future changes are expected to include a warmer atmosphere, a warmer and more acidic ocean, higher sea levels, and larger changes in precipitation patterns. Several positive developments in the fight against climate change have been noted:

  • Renewable Energy: The International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that renewable energy will surpass coal power as the primary energy source by 2025, with massive scaling of renewables and energy efficiency. However, current policies and market trends must accelerate to meet the goal of tripling renewable energy by 2030​ (World Wildlife Fund)​.
  • Commitments by Countries: Parties to the Paris Agreement are submitting new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are plans to reduce emissions in line with the agreement’s goals. A 60% reduction in emissions by 2035 is a critical target, with businesses, local governments, and civil society playing key roles in achieving these goals​ (World Wildlife Fund)​.
  • Nature-Based Solutions: Increasing focus on nature-based solutions to combat climate change, such as protecting forests, mangroves, and other ecosystems that sequester carbon and provide resilience against climate-related disasters​ (World Wildlife Fund)​.
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How to Take Action

Earth Day and other environmental organizations offer practical guidance on how to contribute to climate change progress:

  • Get Informed: Educate yourself about climate science and emerging evidence-based data that relates to climate change​ (Earth Day)​.
  • Personal Accountability: Calculate your carbon footprint and consider offsetting emissions by investing in clean energy projects and renewable energy​​.
  • Travel Smarter: Choose environmentally friendly transportation methods like public transit, biking, or walking to reduce your carbon footprint​.
  • Climate-Conscious Eating: Reduce food waste and consume more plant-based meals, which can significantly impact climate change​.
  • Shop Sustainably: Support companies that are committed to sustainability and transparency throughout the supply chain​.

Overall, while there has been notable progress in the fight against climate change, continuous efforts from individuals, businesses, and governments are necessary to achieve the desired outcomes and combat climate change effectively.

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is caused by human activities and threatens life on earth as we know it. With rising greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is occurring at rates much faster than anticipated. Its impacts can be devastating and include extreme and changing weather patterns and rising sea levels.

Climate change is disrupting national economies and affecting lives and livelihoods, especially for the most vulnerable.

Between 2010 and 2020, highly vulnerable regions, home to approximately 3.3–3.6 billion people, experienced 15 x higher human mortality rates from floods, droughts and storms compared to regions with very low vulnerability.