This Earth Day, reflecting on the global commons we share

Posted on: April 20, 2020

Illustration of Earth
Image: xtoc/Shutterstock

Earth Day 2020 comes at a pivotal moment for our planet. This is the first time since the global celebration was launched 50 years ago where Earth Day events are only digital. COVID-19 has affected the whole world, driving home how connected we are while also keeping us apart in a time of required social distancing.

This is a time for solidarity and support for all those impacted by the current health crisis. It is also a moment for reflection and for planning, as we know that the coronavirus is only one of several global threats that we need to collaborate on for the sake of the one planet we call home. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and other challenges await our continued action and collective problem-solving, with more urgency than ever before.

This Earth Day, we invite you to watch the short films below and learn more about GEF-supported efforts to safeguard the global commons: a stable climate, clean air and water, healthy forests, oceans, biodiversity, and other natural resources we all share and rely on for life.

In order to protect our global commons and turn the tide against dangerous climate change and biosphere degradation, humanity must develop new ways of doing business to deliver transformational change in food, energy, urban, and production and consumption systems. It will take coalitions that bring together governments, businesses, finance, and citizens to realize this goal.

Humanity uses >70% of the global commons than the #Earth can regenerate. To saveguard #OurGlobalCommons, we must measure, set targets, and foster collective action. On #EarthDay2020 learn about #GlobalCommonsAlliance which aims to do exactly that.

The perfect balance of #climate, water, #biodiversity, ocean and land is vital to our survival. These are #OurGlobalCommons and they belong to all of us. This #EarthDay, learn more about what role you can play.

We are testing the limits of Earth’s ability to support humanity. We already seeing the affects and it Is much more than #climatechange. For humanity to flourish, #OurGlobalCommons must thrive. Learn more this #EarthDay.

This video takes you to Tigray, a remote region in Ethiopia where the GEF, together with the World Bank, is undertaking a successful land management project, supporting local farmers in the efforts to conduct sustainable agriculture, benefiting landless youth and providing a healthy, sustainable environment.

By 2020 the world will need a 70% increase in food production, yet currently 1/3 of the Earth’s agricultural land is degraded. On #EarthDay2020, learn about @theGEF’s work on restoring land.

To ease land degradation and to meet the increasing demand for food, we have to radically transform global farming systems. This #EarthDay, learn about @theGEF @WorldBank project that works to restore productive land in #Ethiopia.

.@theGEF has provided over $6mn to land restoration in Ethiopia for greater & greener productivity. On #EarthDay2020, learn what it means for the country where 85% of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

All around the world, oceans and coastal communities are threatened by climate change, pollution, acidification, and overfishing. With funding from the GEF and Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), the province of Bataan in the Philippines is working to implement sustainable development strategies, reforest its mangroves, and support small scale fisheries with assistance from the private sector.

DYK? Some have valued the oceans at about $2.5 trillion annually. This #EarthDay2020, learn more about @theGEF’s work to protect our oceans and coasts, as well as the communities who depend on them.

The world’s fisheries are in a state of crisis. This #EarthDay2020, see how @theGEF’s work with the private sector can be part of the solution to support sustainable seafood producers and have a watershed impact on coastal fishers.

In the province of Bataan in the Philippines, mangroves are the peninsula’s main protection from increasingly harsh climatic conditions. On #EarthDay2020, discover how @theGEF is working with local governments to help the environment.

Many global environmental issues - as well as their solutions - take place in cities. The GEF’s Sustainable Cities Program supports cities in their pursuit of sustainable urban planning and further enhances the knowledge and experience shared through the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC). In this video, visit Bhopal, India, where the GEF, together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), invested in the relocation of a 40-year-old toxic dumpsite. 

With billions of people living in urban environments in the future, how can we design cities that take care of both the earth and its people? This #EarthDay2020, learn more about @theGEF”s investment in sustainable cities.

Cities consume over 2/3 of global energy and emit 70% of all greenhouse gases--but they are also taking ownership of global agendas to address climate change. Learn more this #EarthDay about how @theGEF is harnessing this momentum.

By relocating a 40-year-old dumpsite in Bhopal, 2 million people benefited from cleaner drinking water. This #EarthDay2020, learn more about how @theGEF works with cities to benefit people and the environment.

As the largest and most biodiverse tropical forest on the planet, the Amazon plays an important role in regulating the climate. Learn about the GEF’s Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), as well as the Good Growth Partnership, a GEF initiative to encourage sustainable and deforestation-free food production. By addressing market forces alongside conservation, the GEF aims to turn good practice into business as usual. 

As the largest and most biodiverse forest on the planet, the Amazon plays an important role regulating the climate. This #EarthDay2020, explore @theGEF’s work to address deforestation through durable solutions.

“@theGEF was the first funder that accepted the risks and now, 15 years later, we have 117 protected areas--which is twice the size of Germany.” This #EarthDay2020, learn more about our work halting deforestation in the Amazon.

The Cerrado--the Brazilian Savannah--is one of the most threatened and fragile ecosystems in Brazil. On #EarthDay2020, learn more about @theGEF’s work promoting sustainable agricultural production in the area.

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