UN Secretary-General Says COVID-19 Marks Earth Day with a ‘Wake-Up Call’

Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The first Earth Day in the United States was held in 1970. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demand better environmental stewardship for planet Earth.

Today, Earth Day is part of a worldwide effort to support clean air, clean water, and protection for endangered species. In 2016, theUnited Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris climate agreement into force.

On this Earth Day, says UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic — the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War.  We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences.”

Guterres noted that the coronavirus has exacerbated the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis. “Biodiversity is in steep decline,” he noted. “Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return.”

It is imperative that policymakers act decisively to protect the planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption. “The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call,” the secretary general said. “We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.”

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