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World Earth Day 2024 | This day and the lesson for humankind

2024 theme aims to galvanize a global movement to drastically reduce plastic use and production
12:00 AM Apr 22, 2024 IST | DR. AIJAZ HASSAN GANIE
world earth day 2024   this day and the lesson for humankind

Earth Day is a great opportunity to get involved in environmental activism and make a difference for our planet. There are many events and activities taking place around the world on Earth Day. The people of Kashmir should also participate in this noble cause to protect our Mother Earth.


The theme of International Mother Earth Day 2024 is“Planet vs. Plastics”. This powerful theme focuses on raising awareness about the dire consequences of plastic pollution on our planet and its inhabitants. It aims to galvanize a global movement to drastically reduce plastic use and production.


The unfortunate thing is that we the inhabitants of this beautiful land use plastics bags even to collect milk and curd from milk shop. The edible oil is also bought in the plastic bags. There is a new concept called the re-wilding and developed nations like US spend trillions of dollars to bring the mother earth to its original state. So keeping in view the urgency of this issue we also need to revisit our practices and revert back to basics.


We destroy our pristine ecosystems by the plastic bags, and bottles that we take to these places, and make these places. None of us bothers to keep these places clean. During our field trip to higher alpine areas we saw these plastic bottles and bags were also thrown in high alpine lakes as well like Sheshnag, Vishensar.


There is a global consensus that there should be 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. But keeping in view the hazardous effects of plastics to natural ecosystems and even to human health we should, as a civilized society, be the first in the Indian sub-continent to say no to plastic and plastic products.


The history of World Earth Day dates back to year 2009 when General Assembly established 22 April as International Mother Earth Day through a resolution. The roots of this observance trace back to the 1970s when environmental protection wasn’t yet a priority on national political agendas.


The UN Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 in Stockholm marked the beginning of global awareness regarding the interdependence between people, other living species, and our planet. In 1992, significant milestones were reached with the adoption of Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. This marked the first major conference where sustainable development was a primary focus.


During the last few decades lot of attention has been given to this important issue, and lot of conferences, summits and declarations made; like the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002, the declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth, and Rio+20, which resulted in a focused political outcome document, contributed to the exponential growth of efforts to conserve the environment. More recent events include the Climate Action Summit 2019 and COP25, both concentrating on achieving the Paris Agreement.

The United Nations celebrates International Mother Earth Day through the Harmony with Nature initiative. This platform for global sustainable development annually hosts an interactive dialogue, discussing methods to promote a holistic approach to harmony with nature and exchanging national experiences on criteria and indicators for measuring sustainable development in harmony with nature.

The motive of this day is to build a mass awareness about the critical environmental issues like climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and deforestation. It brings these concerns to the forefront of public discourse, prompting conversations and sparking action.

Also this Day is not just about awareness; it’s about mobilizing individuals and organizations to take concrete steps towards environmental protection. The day serves as a platform for organizing clean-up drives, tree-planting initiatives, community gardens, and awareness campaigns. It encourages people to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives, such as reducing waste, conserving energy, and choosing eco-friendly products.

The collective action inspired by World Earth Day has led to significant environmental achievements, including the creation of the EPA, the passing of environmental legislation, and increased investment in renewable energy.

World Earth Day fosters a sense of community and solidarity among environmental activists and organizations worldwide. It provides a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and resource exchange, strengthening the global movement for environmental protection. It also connects individuals to local environmental groups and initiatives, empowering them to participate in ongoing efforts and contribute to their communities.

This Day challenges the notion that the environment is separate from humanity. It reminds us that we are part of a complex ecosystem and our well-being is inextricably linked to the health of the planet. Celebrating Earth as a home and caretaker fosters a sense of responsibility and encourages a more respectful relationship with nature.

In conclusion, World Earth Day’s significance extends beyond a single day on the calendar. It catalyzes awareness, action, and progress, driving us towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

The continued success of this global movement relies on our collective commitment to protecting our planet, one step at a time. The areas like ours with fragile ecosystems and dependence of all agricultural and horticultural crops on a particular temperature regimes need to more vigilant and cautious as very little variation of temperature fluctuations can cause a serious problems.
Dr. Aijaz Hassan Ganie, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, North Campus