Biodiversity loss is a silent crisis that threatens human survival. This is one concern which requires public attention and action.
Earth Day on April 22 provides an opportunity for individuals and communities to reduce biodiversity loss, which, when left unabated, could lead to human extinction.
The Earth Day movement traces its roots to the first national environmental protest in the United States in 1970, which was proposed by then-US Senator Gaylord Nelson, to bring environmental issues onto the national agenda.
Earth Day events then went global in 1990, when 200 million people from 141 countries were mobilised to bring environmental issues onto the world stage.
This year, in the face of climate change and other intensifying environmental concerns, Earth Day calls for a “Billion Acts of Green” to heal the environment.
“Simple acts of green can be conducted by individuals and communities – planting trees, wise use of water and electricity, disposing wastes properly, recycling, and other small daily ‘green acts’ that can make a big difference,” Rodrigo U Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said.
Yearly celebrations of Earth Day continue to highlight environmental issues, as well as activities to encourage environment-friendly lifestyles.
The event has provided an opportunity from all sectors in society to bring attention to issues such as biodiversity conservation, climate change and global warming, deforestation, pollution, species extinction and others, while calling for more participation in recycling, renewable energy,
reforestation, and environmental protection and conservation.
“There is growing awareness and action in terms of environmental protection, but unfortunately the Earth is in greater peril than ever.
Biodiversity – the main source of food, clothing, shelter, medicine and livelihood – is under threat from irresponsible human activities.
Climate change is an issue that resonates in many ASEAN countries as temperatures continue to rise and impacts can be seen in intense heat, dry riverbeds, wilted crops, and poor energy generation from hydroelectric dams.
“Growing awareness of biodiversity and climate change issues however, presents an opportunity to set the foundation for a healthy, prosperous, and clean energy economy,” Fuentes explained.
He added that Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance biodiversity conservation, climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs.
“We encourage everyone to dedicate simple green acts in order to help conserve biodiversity,” Mr. Fuentes said.
Leslie Ann V Jose
Public Affairs Associate ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
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