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.

The Earth, the neglected home we live in

Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet Earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit.

The Earth and its ecosystems are our home. In order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.

International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.

This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth, to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.

International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.

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!

Rooted in a decade when pollution reached a peak

The General Assembly designated 22 April as International Mother Earth Day through a resolution adopted in 2009, joining civic groups that celebrated Earth Day earlier.

In fact, the original roots go back to 1970 with the first American protests against air pollution due to amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles and irresponsible industries. Environmental protection was not a priority of the political agenda.

Two years later, the UN Conference on the Human Environment 1972 in Stockholm marked the beginning of a global awareness of the interdependence between people, other living species and our planet, as well as the establishment of World Environment Day on 5 June and the UN Environment Programme.

Awareness of environment grew and the movement went global, especially during the nineties, with more than 140 countries joining the initiative through different environmental platforms.

In 1992, Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the first major conference in which Sustainable Development was the main issue discussed by member states.

From then on, all efforts to conserve the environment experienced an exponential growth: the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002; the declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth; the UN official Mother Earth Day Declaration, joining other platforms in their Earth Day celebration; Rio+20 - resulting in a focused political outcome document, which contains clear and practical measures for implementing sustainable development - and recently, the Climate Action Summit 2019 and COP25, both focusing on the achievement of the Paris Agreement.

Did you know?

  • More than 33% of the Earth's soils are already degraded and 90% could become degraded by 2050.
  • Insects, vital for pollination of crops and plants, are likely to lose half their habitat at a rise of temperatures by 1.5°C, but this becomes almost twice as likely at a rise of 2°C.
  • By 2050 there will be more than 9 billion humans on Earth and we will need to produce 60% more food.
Detail of water droplets on leaf

The UN Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth award is the world’s flagship environmental honour. Since 2005, we have recognized heroes who inspire, encourage others to join them, and defend a cleaner future. Get inspiration from the most experienced ones to the youngest (candidatures still opened). Maybe next year you could be one of them! 

 

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!

 

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.