On April 22, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries are expected to take part in a global day of political and civic action for the Earth.
People will march, plant trees, clean up their cities, parks, beaches and waterways, politicians will announce policies, and corporations will pledge to work toward sustainability — all to mark Earth Day 2019.
Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day observances worldwide, has designated 2019 to be the year to “Protect Our Species.”
According to EDN, the theme was picked to highlight the fact that human activities are directly linked to what environmental journalist Elizabeth Kolbert refers to in her book, “The Sixth Extinction,” which describes a mass extinction caused by human activity rather than natural causes.
“The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders and scientists to demand immediate action,” EDN President Kathleen Rogers told VOA.
Earth Day brings, in general, a greater awareness to environmental concerns. The Pew Research Center released a report last week that found climate change was the top concern in half the countries it surveyed last year.
At the top of the list was Greece, where 90 percent of those surveyed called it a major threat and only 4 percent did not view climate change as a threat at all. Their concern was shared by residents of South Korea, France, Spain and Mexico, countries that ranked Nos. 2-5, respectively.
The survey also found that concern over climate change has been steadily rising around the world since 2013, when Pew first asked that question. That year, a median of 56 percent in 23 countries said climate change was a major threat.
In the most recent survey, a median of 67 percent in the same countries hold this view. The concern was also the highest among specific demographics — the educated, women and those between the ages of 18 and 26.