Why this year’s Earth Day is different than any other

On April 22nd, 2016, we will celebrate Earth Day…for the 46th time! Why is Earth Day 2016 any different than others that have come before it?

Just like in the years past, all across the globe, in big cities to small villages and every place in-between, people are organizing, asking for climate action, making their local environments greener, meeting with local officials, planting trees, and teaching others about the significance of protecting our planet.

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris France during the meetings of COP21, asking for ACTION NOW.

This year, however, in a rare and special event, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited every world leader to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement, which was achieved last December. And it is no coincidence that the agreement will be signed on April 22nd – Earth Day, the world’s largest environmental event.

Since the agreement in Paris last December, UN leaders are feeling the pressure to make sure global leaders like United States, China, India, and the European Union – the largest CO2 emitters – sign the Agreement. The Earth Day Network has launched a petition on world leaders – including President Obama – to show leadership on this matter. You can sign the U.S. petition here.

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks during COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, on Nov. 30, 2015.

It is crucial to call the above countries to sign the Agreement because the global debate over who should take action to address climate change is very precarious and many opposing opinions are holding back prospects for long-term agreements. And as we all know, the last thing we can afford with climate change is time. With the momentum from Paris, we must encourage our leaders to push forward and enact leadership in as significant and promising fashion.

As a humanitarian and development NGO, for nearly 50 years, Concern Worldwide has worked in partnership with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people to transform their lives. The significant impact climate change is having on the lives of the people we work with is evident and often times, devastating. From Bangladesh to Malawi to Ethiopia, it is clear that those who are the least responsible for climate change are suffering its impacts the most.

GCC students raise awareness at their school about the Sustainable Development Goals (#13 is on Climate Action)

GCC students raise awareness at their school about the Sustainable Development Goals (#13 is on Climate Action)

On this significant Earth Day, YOU can take significant action:

  • Teaching others around you about concepts such as Climate Injustice can hugely alter the way in which people think about global warming and climate change. Use this POSTER to start the conversation.
  • Check out what events and activities are already taking place where you live. Scroll down to the map to find out!
  • Host an event of your own! Get creative – whether it’s at your school or at home with your friends and family – plan a water walk activity or watch a movie to expand your knowledge even further. You can ask everyone to bring climate related snacks!
  • Watch this TED talk from Christiana Figueres, who was tapped by the UN to lead the Paris Climate Conference last December.
  • Learn even more about climate change and its impact on the world’s most vulnerable by reading some case studies from Concern Worldwide.
  • Tell President Obama that you want him to use his power for a greener good for your future by signing this petition.
  • Don’t forget to take immediate and personal action by understanding how you, too contribute to global warming by your daily habits. Calculate your carbon footprint and begin to make changes in your lifestyle so that it is more sustainable. And pass on the word for others to do the same!