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| Last Updated:: 25/04/2016












The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution. The day is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.



Why Celebrate Earth Day?



  • Earth Day draws attention to the planet and our dependence on it for survival.
  • Earth Day can raise awareness of key environmental problems that threaten earth’s ability to support life.
  • Earth Day can highlight the importance of sustainable development and promote the necessary changes in human practice to achieve its results.
  • Earth Day can provide the motivation and opportunity for participants to take action to improve the environment of their local communities.
  • Earth Day presents an excellent interdisciplinary theme for schools to celebrate.
  • Earth Day celebrations give schools a great opportunity to model environmental stewardship.



The mission of Earth Day was formally established by the Earth Society Foundation in 1976. Its mission was:



“Conduct educational programs and seminars and promote research and investigation throughout the world for the purpose of providing data to all individuals and institutions who are joining in the movement to promote and implement the Earth care ethic: namely, that the stewardship and care of earth requires action to produce and use materials and services that help nurture, conserve and recycle, without destructive pollution, the organisms and nutrients of Earth’s web of life. Coordinate or assist the work of like-minded organizations for the purposes of minimizing unnecessary duplication of energies and maximizing the impact and effectiveness of the earth care movement.”



2016 Theme: Trees for the Earth



With this year's theme, looking forward to its 50th anniversary, it sets the goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.


This year, Earth Day coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which will take place at UN Headquarters in New York. Already, more than 130 nations have announced their intent to attend the signing ceremony. The Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. The signing ceremony takes place on the first day that the Agreement will be open for signatures, marking the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.


Most importantly, on March 31, United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that both countries would not only sign the agreement today, but work to ratify the agreement as early as this year.


The US and China are the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, together accounting for approximately 40 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.


In addition, major emitters are also taking steps to ratify the agreement as quickly as possible. On April 7, the Basic group — which includes Brazil, South Africa, India and China — released a statement saying that the countries “look forward to signing the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016 during the High-Level Signature Ceremony convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations” and that they “expressed their will to initiate necessary domestic processes for ratification, acceptance or approval as soon as possible”.


In order for the Paris agreement to “enter into force” — which means that key provisions of the agreement would become binding — at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 per cent of global emissions, must sign the agreement after 30 days.


Therefore, this year’s Earth Day could be a key moment in the history of humanity if all nations attending the ceremony sign the agreement. This will be a great start and big push for the agreement to enter into force, and it will be the first multilateral treaty in history to enter into force on the first day it opens for signatures.


Once the agreement is ratified, the more difficult tasks for countries will begin. This includes taking action, drawing policies and mobilising investments in various sectors, especially energy, transport and agriculture to move towards a low-emissions economy.


The link between the Paris agreement and trees is clear — forests will be key allies in combating climate change and meeting the long-term goal of restoring the ecological balance of planet Earth by the second half of the century.


Trees and forests are also crucial in assisting efforts to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), given their role is absorbing carbon, cleaning and cooling the air, acting as natural water pumps to sustain river flows, stabilising soils, protection against strong winds, recycling nutrients for agriculture and supporting habitats for wildlife. In addition, trees play a key economic role as a source in many industries such as buildings, paper, furniture and medicine. Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.



There are many ways to celebrate the earth day:




  • New trees plantation at required places.
  • Do some outdoor activities with your family such as making the home for a bird on the tree and discuss their role in the ecosystem.
  • Motivate people to reduce the use of plastic bags to avoid the soil and water pollution.
  • Teach your children about the recycling and reuse of the old materials.
  • Take part in picking up the wastes from streets, parks and other places.
  • Take part in the amusement activities like singing a song related to the Earth safety to attract more people to the event celebration.
  • Take part in the educational sessions like seminars, discussions and other competitive activities related to the safety of natural resources of the earth.
  • Motivate people by wearing green, brown or blue clothes for displaying the environmental colours.
  • Promote people for energy conservation by various practical means.
  • Teach people that every day of their life is earth day, so they should take care of the earth on daily basis




Earth Day Activities at CPREEC



U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, organized a tree planting ceremony at the CPR Environmental Education Center (CPREEC) as part of Earth Day 2016 celebrations. Consul General Phillip Min and CPREEC Director Dr. Nanditha Krishna planted tree saplings in CPREEC campus.


Speaking on the occasion Dr. Nanditha Krishna explained about the objectives of the Earth Day. She said that almost everything that helps to sustain life is given by mother earth and that there is a greater need to get involved and do our part to help save the planet.


Consul General Phillip Min appreciated the various conservation efforts carried out by CPREEC. He then enumerated some of the initiatives taken by U.S. Consulate in Chennai like recycling the waste, use of solar lamps, conservation of water etc as their responsibility for greener earth.


Consul General Phillip Min also presented the environmental kit - ‘GLOBE kit’ and distributed saplings to young volunteers of “The Environmentalist Foundation of India for planting in different areas of the city. The ‘GLOBE kit’ is a useful tool developed by NASA and the National Science Foundation and supported by the U.S. State Department to conduct experiments about soil and the environment.


Representative from “The Environmentalist Foundation of India” said that CPREEC is doing outstanding work in the conservation and restoration of sacred groves and that the younger generation should learn about the need to protect our sacred forests. A pledge was taken by the volunteers to protect the earth from further harm.



Dr. Nanditha Krishna later presented the copies of the book “Green Pilgrimage for a Clean India” to US Consulate Team. The book was published by CPREEC ENVIS centre as a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to initiate changes in religious pilgrimage behaviour and to reduce climate change impacts with due emphasis on the belief that humans have a responsibility to protect our planet Earth.