Earth day 2021: three days of climate action

This year's theme: Restore Our Earth

On 22nd of April we celebrate Earth Day to empower and expand the environmental movement. This year's emphasis is on supporting local communities, focusing on areas that are disproportionately affected by environmental issues. Those living on the front lines of these environmental crises do not always have the resources to deal with the damage.

Over the last year, it has become apparent how our health and wellbeing is closely interlinked with the health of our planet. Fighting the climate crisis requires determined and persistent action on many fronts. However, the solutions are many and action on the ground demonstrates that we may still have a chance to stop the worst crisis from hitting us – especially the most vulnerable among us - in the coming years.

Many actions and events this year will center on climate action, reforestation, or protecting biodiversity. Specific actions include food and environment impact (foodprint) reduction, global cleanups, climate literacy or citizen science campaigns. 

Three days of climate action

The three days of climate action will begin on April 20 with a global youth climate summit, consisting of panels, speeches, discussions, and special messages with today’s youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg.  

It will be followed by the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit” on April 21, a multilingual virtual summit that will span several time zones and feature prominent activists from every continent, focused on the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now. 

Finally, on April 22, parallel to the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, will hold its second Earth Day Live digital event, a multi-hour, multi-channel livestream including segments taking place around the world starting at 18:00 Brussels time (CEST) and featuring workshops and panel discussions with a focus on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.

All events can be followed live on the official EarthDay website

We depend on nature

As individual human beings, we depend on nature. Our societies and our economy cannot function without it. Yet, we have not done right by it. We have overexploited its resources and undermined its biodiversity, thus threatening our own survival.

Climate change and other environmental degradations have broken our natural systems, leading to new and fatal diseases as well as a breakdown of the global economy. But just as climate change and coronavirus painfully remind us of the harm we’ve caused, Restore Our Earth reminds us of the opportunities that lay ahead.

We must Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. Every one of us needs a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.

EESC members' reflections on Earth Day