Celebrate Earth Day with a Billion Acts of Green!

22 April 2011 | News story

IUCN Member, Earth Day Network is calling for unprecedented levels of environmental action to mark Earth Day 2011 today.

For over 40 years, Earth Day—April 22—has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.

This year’s Earth Day theme is A Billion Acts of Green®, a global campaign that inspires and rewards individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that help reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability.

A Billion Acts of Green® is the largest environmental service and advocacy campaign in the world. From greening schools to hosting town hall discussions on clean energy investment and green jobs, Earth Day Network leads its network in thousands of Earth Day events and actions worldwide each year.

Acts of Green range from Earth Day events and community climate meetings to tree plantings, large-scale light bulb changes and workplace renewable energy retrofits. Simple individual gestures, like riding a bike instead of driving, or washing laundry in cold water, may also be recorded.

Every act registered will be counted toward the ultimate goal of amassing one billion actions in advance of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

To mark this year’s Earth Day, leading international organizations working to protect and manage the world’s forests are calling for governments across the globe to increase communities’ role in forest management. Doing so could contribute to lifting close to a billion people out of poverty, as well as improve the health and vitality of forests.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) comprises 14 international organizations including IUCN specializing in the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The group has come together to speak with one voice and send an unequivocal message: if we are to see an end to global poverty and the preservation of endangered biodiversity, communities living in and near forests must be involved in decision making about sustainable forest management.

“People who live in forests and are highly dependent on them for their food, fuel, and medicines, are often not those who control the decisions on how these resources are used and managed,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre , IUCN Director General. “Our work in countries across the world has proven that strengthening community rights over their own forests helps reduce poverty and also benefits forest biodiversity.”

The CPF has seen again and again that by increasing local people’s ownership in the management of forest resources, communities are often in a better position to start forest product-based business, from which they can earn better incomes. Such businesses encompass everything from processing and marketing of shea nuts and butter in West Africa, to community forestry enterprises managing forest concessions in Petén, Guatemala. The ability to build increased household wealth is critical as it often results in improved food security, investments in children’s education as well as increased engagement in community and social improvement activities.

For more information and to contribute your ‘Acts of Green,’ visit Earth Day Network’s A Billion Acts of Green website.