From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Earth Day
Mains level : NA
Yesterday, April 22nd was celebrated as Earth Day, an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection.
The Earth Day designation by UN and its first observance have confusing difference. Make note of that. We can expect a question based on that. Also read about Earth Overshoot Day.
What is Earth Day?
- In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 as ‘International Mother Earth Day’.
- Earth Day aims to “build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and the planet.”
- Earth Day was first observed in 1970, when 20 million took to the streets to protest against environmental degradation.
- The event was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other issues such as smog and polluted rivers.
- The landmark Paris Agreement, which brings almost 200 countries together in setting a common target to reduce global greenhouse emissions, was signed on Earth Day 2016.
Significance of this year
- The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the annual celebrations.
- This year’s theme for Earth Day is ‘climate action’.
- Ecological overshoot is only possible for a limited time before ecosystems begin to degrade and possibly collapse
- Impacts: Already apparent in soil erosion, desertification, reduced cropland productivity, overgrazing, deforestation
- Also rapid species extinction, fisheries collapse and increased carbon concentration in the atmosphere
- India ranks 3rd in its ecological footprint due to its high population levels despite a low per capita consumption of natural resources
- Top 2: China and USA
- National Footprint Accounts 2016 by World Bank: Cropland and forest footprints were the largest components of India’s overall ecological footprint, until the late 1980s
- Carbon footprint: Took over in the late 2000s & India’s carbon footprint currently makes up 53% of the country’s overall Ecological Footprint
- News: According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), on August 8, the world exhausted nature’s budget of natural resources for the entire year as a result of increased consumption levels
- This day is observed as Earth Overshoot Day which marked the beginning of the world operating in overshoot for the rest of the year by exerting excess pressure on the planet for any resources drawn
- Global Footprint Network: Calculates overshoot data
- Dooming: With population growth and increasing consumption, Earth Overshoot Day has moved from late September in 2000 to August 8 this year