A massive oil spill off the Californian coast in 1969 mobilized the activists to protest against environmental degradation. What followed was the enactment of several environmental regulations and a call for celebrating Earth Day on April 22 every year. But the nexus of the pandemic and the climate activism has rung bells in our heads to reassess our relationship with the planet and aim at climate justice.
This year’s celebrations come at a time when a blanket of fear and uncertainty has engulfed the countries. Earth Day 2020 is being observed during tumultuous times when its habitants are reeling with a pandemic. The graph of infected people doesn’t seem to flatten despite all the stringent measures and physical distancing. But the stark drop in consumption of fossil fuels has cleaned the world air and highlighted the familiar diabolical of using non-renewable resources.
The human intrusion into the animal world has led to the loss of natural habitat for animals. The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 from animals to humans has already revealed the disastrous consequences. The pandemic necessitated the Chinese government to place restrictions on wildlife hunting after multiple decades of reckless exploitation of wild animals. The realization has dawned upon us that we are living in an age of extinction and several irreversible damages to the environment are already recoiling on mankind as well as the flora and fauna.
Marking its half-century anniversary, this year was meant to observe and work in synergy toward the goals of Paris Agreement. But owing to the present circumstances, while the theme of climate change is being upheld, the celebrations have turned entirely digital. April 22 is, therefore, an outlet for contemplation over green economic stimulus through sustainable measures and securing a dignified future for our successors.
A world where a deadly virus can affect millions globally, the vulnerable and marginalized communities are at a greater risk of decimation. The current pandemic also gives us a moment to ponder over the slowly escalating disaster of climate change hovering on us. If this call goes unanswered, the current global lockdown would be the quotidian way of human life in the coming years.
Image Source – The Jakarta Post