Earth Day 2020
By Yetunde Oyelami
Beautiful Earth (What a Marvellous Thing)
What a wonderful joy it is to see,
The beauty of nature and its majesty.
Everything blends, entwines and embraces,
Spaced precisely in their designated places.
What a marvel to see, I wish I were a bee,
Smelling life’s roses, no particular place to be.
How can it be, such a marvel to see
When it’s possessed by such as you and me?
Ours to have, cherish, and protect,
Not to pollute, take for granted, nor neglect.
Enjoy the earth, treat it kind
After all it is ours, yes… yours and mine.
This poem by Kathye D. Perry is an imaginary depiction of how the relationship between humans and Mother Earth should be. However, instead of smelling life’s roses, most of what we can smell are dirt and environmental pollutions taking a nap at our natural habitats.
Clearly, Mother Earth needs a call to action. Everything is suffering. Australian fires, record heat and Kenya’s worst locust invasion. Now we are facing COVID -19, a pandemic threat to the health of our environment worldwide.
A Focus on Climate Action
The theme for this year’s Earth Day is Climate Action. It is a notion so simple, and extremely beneficial, but one that we have mostly refused to put into effect. It steps on from actions as simple as educating school children on environmental concerns, to implementing and enforcing strict laws that protect our environment. On both ends, from the grassroots to the top tier of our governments, we really can’t say we have done a lot in the right direction — to protect Earth, the one place we call home. Climate action is a term that still sounds foreign to the bulk of human population.
If it is taking a global pandemic for some parts of the world to ban wildlife trade, then, it is obvious that we have not being doing a lot of things right. Rather, we wait for adversity of our actions/inaction to step on our toes before we do what is right.
We don’t have to wait until we are terribly affected before we adopt climate actions. It is in our hands as individuals and groups to push for legislatures that take deliberate steps towards judicious climate actions. It is our duty to maintain the flourishing biodiversity that makes our Earth a beautiful place to be.
Climate change, fabricated nature changes, as well as crimes that interfere with biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified farming and livestock production, or the growing illegal trade in wildlife, can increase contact and transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) such as COVID-19.
With one new virus disease that arises in humans every 4 months, 75% of these emerging diseases originate from animals, according to UN Environment. It illustrates the close connections between human, animal and environmental wellness.
Clear, significant impacts, whether by enhancing air quality or reducing greenhouse gas emissions are only transient, because they arrive on the heels of catastrophic economic recession and human suffering.
There is growing concern about the health effects of loss of and change in biodiversity. Changes in biodiversity impact the operation of the environment, and major ecosystem changes can result in ecological products and services sustaining life. Relevant linkages between health and biodiversity include changes in diet, health science or mainstream medicine, new infectious diseases and controlling shifts in the distribution of plants, viruses, animals and even human populations, most of which are affected by climate change.
Coronavirus epidemic poses a major risk to public health and to the world economy, as well as to biodiversity. Biodiversity, though, may be part of the solution because this species diversity will make it harder for viruses to quickly spread.
Coinciding with the Mega Year of Biodiversity, this Mother Earth Day is based on its position as an indication of the wellbeing of the Planet.
Despite continuing attempts, biodiversity deteriorates globally at unprecedented rates in human history. It is estimated that about one million species of animals and plants are now at risk of extinction. With this global picture and the coronavirus situation, our immediate goal is to deter COVID-19 from spreading, but it is important to address the destruction of habitat and biodiversity in the longer term.
On this International Mother Earth Day, let’s note more than ever that we need a change towards a more sustainable environment that works for both people and the world. Let us develop balance with nature and with the universe.
We are one with our Mother Earth in this journey.