Opinion

Restore our Earth

Restore our Earth

When this terrible pandemic is over and it will be over, no matter how much later than we hope the world will still be grappling with a long-running crisis that is threatening lives and livelihoods. Climate change continues to destroy natural habitats and drive certain species to extinction, spawn extreme weather, undermine food security and directly threaten coastal communities as sea levels rise.

Today the international community marks Earth Day as the planet is fully preoccupied with the battle against COVID-19. Yet there is also room for environmental awareness in this pandemic. The public health crisis has shown the importance of hygiene and clean surroundings to keep out deadly pathogens. The origin of the coronavirus has also highlighted the importance of stopping wildlife trafficking.

People have discovered – or rediscovered – the importance of the outdoors and good air quality as well as the benefits of using bicycles. Governments are moving to develop more green spaces in urban centers and provide the necessary infrastructure for biking, jogging and other physical activities. Regenerative agriculture is gaining ground.

Climate change, however, continues to pose a serious threat, and remains a key concern for today’s Earth Day observance. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, much progress has been achieved in protecting the planet. In many countries including the Philippines, laws have been passed to promote clean air, clean water, green energy, better waste management and reforestation; protect threatened or endangered species, and support the sustainable use of natural resources.

Yet Earth Day organizers emphasize that the battle is far from over and continues to suffer setbacks even as the impacts of climate change grow. The problem still calls for a unified global response, and the theme of this special day strongly resonates: together we have the power to restore our Earth.