Earth Day is an annual celebration on April 22 focussing on all environmental issues. The first Earth Day took place in the USA in 1970 to raise awareness about environmental issues and now includes the participation of more than 1 billion people in 190 countries.
The 2021 theme is ‘Restore our Earth’ which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change. It is up to each and every one of us to Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it.
“The Earth Day theme then suggests that whilst we are engaged in hands-on action to care for Earth, we are invited to have a change of heart and mind and recognize and value how intimately we are interdependent with all creation.”
First Nations Peoples around the world articulate deep awareness of belonging to the Country. Sherry Balcombe; Leader at Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria, says:
“We want to share our deep spiritual connection with the Land and all parts of it. It is just as sacred to us today as it has been since time immemorial. This is our true gift to the world. When you become still and listen carefully, you can hear the songlines that connect us, and you can feel our ancestors calling in the wind.”
The United Nations also designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day in 2009, by the United Nations General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/63/278. “Acknowledging that the Earth and its ecosystems are our home, and convinced that 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. Also recognizing that 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 General Assembly noted that Earth Day is observed each year in many countries, already so decided to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis says
“The earth is a sister with which we share our life, and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. We breathe her air and receive life from her waters.”
Video from https://socialjustice.catholic.org.au/event/international-mother-earth-day