Child planting a plant in a plastic bottle as a pot.
A young child participates in a plant workshop organized by UNDP Peru and FAO in Ayacucho, Peru.
Photo:UNDP Peru
A young child participates in a plant workshop organized by UNDP Peru and FAO in Ayacucho, Peru. Photo: UNDP Peru.

We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

When Mother Earth sends us a message

Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID -19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem.

Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) like COVID-19.

From one new infection disease that emerges in humans every 4 months, 75% of these emerging diseases come from animals, according to UN Environment.

This shows the close relationships between human, animal and environmental health. 

Visible, positive impact– whether through improved air quality or reduced greenhouse gas emissions – are but temporary, because they come on the back of tragic economic slowdown and human distress.

Let’s remind more than ever in this International Mother Earth Day that we need a shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet. Let’s promote harmony with nature and the Earth.

the Earth seen_from Apollo_17

Are we really taking care of the Earth?

Discover the facts related to our progress on climate action. Let's not miss the opportunity to limit global warming!

The importance of biodiversity for humans

Coronavirus outbreak poses huge public health and global economy at risk, but biological diversity as well. However, biodiversity can be part of the solution since this diversity of species would make difficult to pathogens to spread rapidly.

This Mother Earth Day, coinciding with the Super Year of Biodiversity, is focused in its role as an indicator of the Earth’s health.

There is growing concern about the health consequences of biodiversity loss and change. Biodiversity changes affect ecosystem functioning and significant disruptions of ecosystems can result in life sustaining ecosystem goods and services. Specific linkages between health and biodiversity include impact in nutrition, health research or traditional medicine, new infectious diseases and influencing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements, most of them affected by climate change.

Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide at rates unprecedented in human history. It is estimated that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

With this big picture, and the coronavirus scenario, our immediate priority is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but in long-term, it is important to tackle habitat and biodiversity loss.

We are in this fight together with our Mother Earth.

Did you know?

  • One new infectious disease emerges in humans every 4 months. 75% of these emerging diseases come from animals.
  • A healthy ecosystem helps to protect us from these diseases. Biological diversity makes it difficult for pathogens to spread rapidly.
  • It is estimated that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction. 
  • If we fight climate change and biodiversity loss turning to sustainable models will help not just nature, but human health
 A gorilla holds her baby as they look at the camera

First, it was ebola. Now, infectious diseases such as COVID-19 are a major concern for great ape conservation. We do not yet know whether great apes are susceptible to the SARS CoV-2 virus, but preventive measures must be taken, like limiting the tourism related to these species. Let's fight to keep our biodiversity. 

Logos from Act Now campaign that represent the goals of buying local and reducing electricity comsumption.

ActNow is the United Nations’ global call to individual actions. Even a small gesture can help fight climate change and accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Find ideas or register and follow through with your actions with the help of our Chatbot. There are more than 650,000 actions registered!

 

Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.