On this day in 1970, millions of people in the United States turned out for rallies across the country calling for environmental protections against oil spills, air pollution, toxic dumps, pesticides, and other hazards to the environment. That day marked the beginning of a movement that would spread around the globe, strengthen, and become the largest civic event the world has ever seen.

Pairing action on the pandemic and on climate change will ensure that economies end up stronger than before

Fifty years ago today, protecting the environment became a mass movement when 20 million Americans took to the streets in hundreds of cities around the country to mark the first Earth Day. Over the past half-century Earth Day has become a global event, observed in some 190 countries and involving nearly 100,000 organizations in the largest civic observance in the world.

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.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is having profound impacts throughout the world. What's happening to ASGM miners, their communities, and planetGOLD country project teams?

The burning of fossil fuels for energy is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions. So, any effort to mitigate climate change must involve energy efficient strategies. After all, the easiest and cheapest clean energy solution lies in the energy that we don’t use.

Being from Denmark - a small, cold, and wet Nordic country that is barely above sea-level - I was sensitized early to the connections between climate conditions and water, from the power of coastal storms to the importance of flood controls. What I have learned since, as an international waters specialist, is just how interlinked water pressures and climate change are, and why we need to work together to respond to both.

Investing in trees and forests combats global warming and provides good financial returns.

The best way to tackle climate change may come naturally. For years, solutions have focused on clean energy technology, including electrifying transport and driving down the cost of wind and solar power.

But the conservation and sustainable management of nature are now recognised as the other critical pathway to a climate-positive future, which on balance, benefits rather than damages the climate and can also help us protect biodiversity and water. 

The fashion industry must be ahead of the curve in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises

This is being described as the “super-year”, with 2020 seen as pivotal – when binding decisions will be made on climate and nature by the world’s governments at international policy meetings.

In an interview with The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, calls for a fundamental rethink in our relationship with the environment to support a sustainable economy and social well-being.

Please could you provide a brief overview of the Global Environment Facility?