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Earth Day highlights need to protect Nature



Climate change needs action now (Photo Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, April 24, 2023

New Zealand is a country that is known for its natural beauty and pristine environment, making it an ideal place to celebrate World Earth Day.

One of the most significant environmental challenges facing New Zealand is climate change. The country has a unique climate and environment, and it is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changes to ecosystems.

On April 22nd every year, people from all over New Zealand come together to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet and taking action to mitigate climate change.

Earth Day 2023

For Earth Day 2023, The emphasis of this year’s theme, ‘Invest in our Planet,’ was to get the over one billion people who participate in Earth Day activities each year to take action in their own communities.

The theme for World Earth Day 2023 highlights the urgent need to take action to restore the health of our planet. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly visible, with rising temperatures, more frequent natural disasters, and increasing levels of pollution. These changes are having a profound impact on our planet, affecting everything from our food supply to the availability of clean drinking water. In response, the theme for World Earth Day 2023 emphasises the need to take action to restore our planet to its natural state.

New Zealand gross greenhouse gas emission per capita 1990-2018 (Photo Supplied)

Nature needs a balance

In light of recent catastrophic events across new Zealand, the need for conservation and restoration of our natural resources is more urgent than ever.

In New Zealand, World Earth Day was celebrated with a range of events and activities, including tree planting, beach clean-ups, and community gatherings. These events were organised by a variety of organisations, including local councils, environmental groups, and schools.

One of the most significant events that take place on World Earth Day in New Zealand is the planting of native trees. This is a popular activity that is organised by many groups, including the Department of Conservation (DOC), local councils, and community organizations.

Under the Emission reduction plan by the new Zealand government, there are extensive strategies, policies and actions for achieving the country’s first emissions budget and contributing to global efforts to limit global temperature rise.

Some of these proposed actions include- More sustainable transport solutions and incentives, Decarbonising the energy sector, reducing building related emissions, reducing agricultural emissions, Encouraging native forests through reducing costs and improving incentives, maintaining existing forests by exploring options to reduce deforestation and encourage forest management practices, growing the forestry and wood processing industry to deliver more value from low-carbon products, while delivering jobs for communities along with steps to reduce, recycle and recover greater volumes of organic waste – and improve services and infrastructure.

How you can help

One of the most important ways that individuals can contribute to the restoration of the Earth is by reducing their carbon footprint. This can be done in a number of ways, including reducing energy consumption, driving less, eating a plant-based diet, and supporting clean energy initiatives. According to Dr Stephanie Pincetl, Director of the California Centre for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, “individual actions do matter when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. Every little bit helps, and if we all make small changes, we can have a big impact.”

In addition to reducing their carbon footprint, individuals can also make a difference by supporting initiatives that aim to restore the health of the planet. This includes initiatives such as reforestation efforts, conservation projects, and clean-up campaigns. According to Dr Andrew Thaler, a marine biologist and founder of the non-profit organisation Blackbeard Biologic, “supporting these initiatives can have a significant impact on the health of our planet. By planting trees, cleaning up our oceans, and conserving natural habitats, we can help to restore the balance of our planet’s ecosystems.”

Another important way that individuals can contribute to the restoration of the Earth is by advocating for policy changes at the local, national, and international levels. This includes supporting policies that promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, and protect natural habitats.

According to Dr Samantha Gross, Director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the Brookings Institution, “individuals can play a powerful role in shaping policy by voting, contacting their elected representatives, and supporting advocacy organisations. By using our voices to advocate for change, we can help to create a more sustainable future for our planet.”

It is important to recognise that the restoration of our planet is a collective effort, and that everyone has a role to play. This includes individuals, governments, businesses, and organisations.

By collaborating and sharing ideas, we can make progress towards a more sustainable future. We have a responsibility to take action to protect our planet for future generations. By working together and taking concrete actions, we can help to create a more sustainable future for all.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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