Celebrating Earth Day

22 April 2012 | News story

Spring has sprung, flowers are blooming, and the time has come to celebrate our planet. April 22 marked the annual date of Earth Day, and this year Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN spoke about energy issues and the importance of nature-based solutions on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall.

Earth Day on the National Mall is the centrepiece of Earth Day in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of environmentally-conscious people join civic leaders and celebrities for the globally-celebrated event, created to invoke awareness and appreciation of our natural environment. For the first time, IUCN partnered with Earth Day Network, an IUCN Member, to participate in Washington, D.C.’s festivities.

Biodiversity is key to human existence. “Today, our connection to nature is not as direct as it was thousands of years ago—yet the services that nature provide create the conditions that enable us to survive and thrive on Planet Earth,” said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN.

“Nature should not be seen as a victim, but rather as part of the solution to some of our greatest challenges, including climate change, food, water and energy security.”

Nature is the backbone, the essential infrastructure, the very foundation of our lives. Just think about it: How many of the comforts we enjoy and the products we use come courtesy of nature’s warehouse of services? It doesn’t really matter who you are. All of us depend, directly or indirectly, on nature. All of us depend on the ecosystem services provided by healthy biodiversity.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. It activated 20 million Americans and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Regardless of where you live, Earth Day provides us with a wonderful opportunity to stop and celebrate our planet and the invaluable things it provides for us on a daily basis.