50th Anniversary of Earth Day

50th Anniversary of Earth Day

BLOG · BY TTF FLEGT COMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVE LUCY BEDRY · 22 APR 2020

The world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, surrounded by ambiguity of coronavirus may feel a little odd for many of us, however in the midst of this current pandemic, we must not forget the greatest threat of the 21st century: climate change.

“COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term”, Patricia Espinosa, U.N. climate change executive secretary.

With the majority of the world under some form of lockdown and restrictions to daily life, the news reflects a complex picture of fake news, contradicting information and advice for steps once the situation is believed to be under control.

Confinement across most of the globe, has resulted in significant decreases to emissions, air pollution and could pave the path to the green revolution needed for a global fight against the worst impacts of climate change.

While humans self-isolate, animals roam free in cities and villages, and the global wildlife trade comes under the spotlight. Rome’s air pollution levels halved from mid-March to mid-April compared to the same period in 2019. Reduced air pollution in India has allowed residents of Jalandhar, a city in north India, to see the Himalayan peaks, a sight that has not been seen for decades.

“There’s some silver lining for wildlife in what otherwise is a fairly catastrophic time for humans”, says David Godrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

When life begins to return to some normality, the response will define the climate crisis. COVID-19 has highlighted the interconnectedness of humans and nature, and as we transition to a life after COVID, we should execute this in a sustainable, safe, nature-enhancing way.

A shift of society and economies towards green, clean, health, just and more resilience should be expected. Societies have demonstrated that they are capable of transforming under tight timescales when lives and economies are at risk. A global recognition needs to be fostered, that climate change will also have this impact and that a universal overhaul of our current economies and working practices is needed in this battle.

Global practices that could be part of this ‘green reboot’ include: eliminating use of fossil fuels, greater deployment of renewable energy technologies, regenerative agriculture, reforestation, and investments in a low-carbon circular economy.

Building and specifying wood from sustainable sources either from a verification scheme (FSC or PEFC) or from countries embarking towards FLEGT  contribute to the demand of sustainable forest management, forest conditions, employment and tackling illegal logging, a contributor of deforestation. One small way that timber businesses across the globe, can do their bit.

We are capable of the change needed. It needs investments towards a greener economy, a change in human behaviour and greater mitigation plans but within the realms of human opportunity, if we work quickly, collaboratively, and effectively.