We have only one Earth, let´s take care of it

June 5 marks World Environment Day. Since its creation, this date has helped raise awareness and generate political momentum around growing concerns, such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming.


This celebration has developed into a global platform for taking action on urgent environmental issues. Millions of people have taken part over the years, helping drive change in our consumption habits, as well as in national and international environmental policy.


Only one Earth


This date is the right occasion to remember that in the universe there are billions of galaxies, in our galaxy there are billions of planets, but there is only one Earth.


Earth faces a triple planetary emergency: the climate is heating up too quickly for people and nature to adapt; habitat loss and other pressures mean an estimated 1 million species are threatened with extinction; and pollution continues to poison the planet’s air, land and water.


The way out of this critical situation is to transform our economies and societies to make them inclusive, fair and more connected with nature. We must shift from harming the planet to healing it.


The theme of the United Nations campaign for World Environment Day 2022 is “Only One Earth”. It aims to raise awareness of these three crises, while encouraging and promoting the celebration, protection and restoration of our planet through various activities.


The planet needs us to change


We are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain our current way of life, and ecosystems cannot keep up with our demands.


Our lifestyles are associated with two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions – studies show that sustainable lifestyles and behaviors could reduce our emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050.


Sustainable consumption and production can drive economic development, mitigate climate change, positively impact health and pollution, and help alleviate poverty – potentially increasing incomes by an average of 11% in low- and medium-income countries by 2060, and 4% in high-income countries.


Time is running out, and nature is in emergency mode. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, we must halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 per cent within the decade and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040.


We need urgent action to address these pressing issues, making “Only One Earth” and its focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature, as pertinent as ever.


Choosing a sustainable life


Sustainability can be applied to multiple aspects. From energy, biodiversity protection systems, global trade or transportation, to how we live in our cities, how and where our money is invested, our food systems and even what we do for fun.


But to choose the path of sustainability in all aspects of life, we must have available, affordable and attractive options to make better daily choices. Many of these choices can only be generated by larger entities: national governments, financial institutions, corporations, international organizations and other organizations with the power to rewrite the rules, frame our ambition and open new horizons.


Thus, the role of individuals and civil society must focus on advocacy, awareness and participation in this regard. By supporting World Environment Day 2022 and the #OnlyOneEarth campaign you can help ensure that this planet, the only one we have, remains a comfortable home for humanity.


By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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