On the 50th anniversary of Earth day, can we learn from our global efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, to help prevent a climate crisis?
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, millions are estimated to take part in the annual event in aid of the environment and to take action against the environmental challenges that Earth faces.
This events for this year’s Earth Day have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the movement has instead planned 72-hours of digital action worldwide, to continue the important climate action.
The official Earth Day website says:
“On Earth day, April 22, 2020, we will face two crises: One is immediate from a pandemic and the other is slowly building as a disaster for our climate.”
This comes after the coronavirus outbreak had already caused the UN to postpone the COP26 international climate conference, that was set to be an important global discussion countries that would have hopefully gotten countries back on track to avoid climate breakdown, dealing a large blow to progress for climate action.
The current pandemic may have already had an impact on global pollution levels, including that of air pollution, but it is hoped that once the world has recovered from the the outbreak of COVID-19, will put the world on track to a greener future.
United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres, has said that the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic must be turned into an opportunity to do things right for the future, once we are passed this current crisis.
The UN chief has warned that the world is facing a “deeper emergency” than coronavirus.
He said there was “another, even deeper emergency – the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis”.
“Biodiversity is in steep decline. Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return.”
“We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and existential threat of climate disruption.”
The Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) which includes the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, whose members include major medical organisations and associations, have backed the plan for a green recovery from the pandemic.
Jeni Miller, GCHA executive director, said:
“We won’t get another shot at this: only a global green recovery can sustain a safe and healthy future for all.”
“Our health is a truly global issue: we must choose a sustainable path for our planet, to prevent further crises and protect lives.”
In the UK the Green Party has said that a “green new deal” needs to be central to any post-coronavirus efforts to tackle the impending environmental crisis.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley has said:
“The impact of coronavirus has laid bare the inequalities that exist in our society and our lack of resilience. The recovery has to spell an end to these once and for all, not make them worse.”
“We can direct emergency economic support so that it powers a move to a sustainable, secure economy and make sure, once we come out of this emergency period, we will have an economy and a society that is more able to withstand future shocks and tackle the climate crisis.”
“A green recovery is the only way to deal with the huge economic challenges while tackling the climate crisis, creating security and leaving behind the inequality that has damaged our society for so long.”
The party wants to see the UK investing in making all homes in the country warmer and more energy-efficient, a revolution in the country’s transport system and a rapid roll-out of new capabilities for renewable energy across the nation, which it says would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.