Every year on April 22nd, the world gathers as a collective to celebrate our home, to acknowledge the fragility of our planet, and remember just how important it is for us to care for and protect it – creating a healthy, sustainable world for both humans and wildlife. But Earth Day is not just another day of awareness, it is a call to action – and has been since its conception.
The first Earth Day took place in 1970, when 20 million Americans united to demand greater protections for our planet. Just 20 years later, in 1990, this increased tenfold to 200 million people across 141 countries, and played a significant role in establishing the first UN Earth Summit in 1992. 30 years on and Earth day engages over 1 billion people each year, with over 75 thousand organisations across 192 countries are working in partnership with the official EARTHDAY.ORG
Each year, the day takes on a specific theme for which to orient conversations and campaigns. Last year’s theme was ‘Climate Action’ and even in the midst of a global pandemic saw over 100 million people engage in what has been called the ‘largest online mass mobilization’ in history. This year the theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’- with a focus on how we can utilise technology and innovation to restore the world’s depleting ecosystems, as well as how important climate education is in reversing and reducing the damage done across the globe.
Restoration is a key theme within NatureScot too! Across our three reserves there is a core focus on peatland restoration, carbon capture, biodiversity increase and visitor engagement. Within the wider organisation our priority is nature based solutions – woodland restoration, blue carbon capture, providing space for – and connecting people with – nature. Scotland’s landscape is beautiful and unique, and our world as a whole can recover if we make the effort. This means taking more ambitious actions forward sooner not later, holding the right people to account, working together and continuing to love and appreciate nature for nature’s sake.
So, this Earth Day, get outdoors and appreciate what we have now. Consider making space for nature and help tackle these emergencies with the urgency they deserve. It was unity that made change happen yesterday, it is collective action that is making change happen today, and it is only by continuing to work together that we can ensure that future generations – that my generation – will have an Earth to celebrate tomorrow.