In 2009, the United Nations adopted a resolution at the General Assembly. Declaring April 22nd as the International Mother Earth Day. The purpose of the document was to promote harmony with nature and earth. It was also to reflect the interdependence of human beings, as the steward of mother earth, and other living beings and the planet. After all,  we only have one planet that we live on, right?

After more than a decade since the Paris Agreement, climate scientists are still struggling to convince the public and world leaders alike that we are headed towards  a catastrophe if we do not take action. With apparent evidence of  unprecedented extreme heat, droughts, wildfires, and flash floods that some countries have experienced, it is high time that we face the harsh reality that  we are indeed headed to a grim future if we do nothing.

So What Is the Paris Agreement and How Does it Affect Mother Earth?

The Paris Agreement is a binding agreement that brings all nations into a common cause towards  undertaking  ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. The prime goal of the Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. With this agreement, countries with major emissions will have to cut their carbon emissions, climate pollution, and strengthen those commitments over time. The ultimate goal is to create a framework for the transparent monitoring, reporting, and ratcheting up of countries’ individual and collective climate goals.

How Does it Work?

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 and signed by 195 countries. By 2020,  countries should have submitted their plans for nationally determined contributions (NDCs). While it is not mandatory, it also provides a framework, wherein financial, technical, and capacity-building support will be given especially for developing countries that need it.

Where Are We on Climate Change?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released recently. And some have described it as a nightmare-turned-reality  because it showed evidence of the devastating impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events. The report explains that these impacts are also disproportionately distributed in that even though  developed countries are the major contributors to pollution and climate change, it is the developing countries that are suffering the dire consequences.

As an individual, How Can I support Mother Earth Day?

One person may seemingly only have a meager impact when it comes to climate change, but let’s not discredit one’s effort to raise awareness because every voice matters. Here are some options you can choose that  will translate into collective action in the realm of a bigger picture.

  • Dietary shift to a more balanced and sustainable diet
  • Teleworking or telecommuting
  • Shift to public transport
  • Shift to biking or e-bike
  • Work with and support the fight of indigenous people and local communities in their ancestral land

In congruence with our annual celebration of Mother Earth Day. Let’s make our governments accountable and remind them that we need to act now! We cannot have harmony with Mother Earth if the only habitat that we live in is dying because of human action and inaction.

Michelle Nhat Ly T. Reyes
Michelle Nhat Ly T. Reyes

Michelle is a registered pharmacist and currently a medical post-graduate intern. Her interests include global health, and public health. She has actively participated in advocating for issues related to climate change, antimicrobial resistance, universal healthcare and vaccine equity.

Categories: General

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