Why not tackle both together, asks Greta?

As the 50th anniversary of Earth Day came and went, Climate action activist Greta Thunberg has urged our global leaders to engage in a combined effort to tackle Coronavirus and the climate crisis. 

As the Coronovirus pandemic has become front and centre in almost all areas of our daily lives, Greta asks us to remember that the climate crisis had not gone away.

“We need to tackle two crises at once,” she added. “Whether we like it or not the world has changed, it looks completely different from how it did a few months ago and it will probably not look the same again and we are going to have to choose a new way forward,” she said.

A video was recently released by the  FridaysforFuture movement showing a family going about their daily lives at home, as their house burned down around them.

It was a symbol of Thunberg’s famous quote ‘Our House is on fire’ when she pleaded with political leaders last year to take the issue of climate change seriously.

Earth Day activities were confined to online due to the lockdown restrictions across the world at this time.

It coincided with calls on global leaders and governments apply the lessons of the pandemic by embracing collective action to address the double crisis of climate disruption and species extinction.

BirdLife International – of which BirdWatch Ireland is a partner – asked the UN to “take a bold and unprecedented step: declare a healthy natural environment a fundamental human right”.

“Covid-19 is the biggest global crisis since World War II. But whilst the pandemic is devastating, it also gives world leaders a chance, indeed an obligation, to transform society – to further protect our welfare and future generations”, said Patricia Zurita of BirdLife International. “Our planet’s health is our health. We humans rely on nature for our survival and sanity, but our actions have upset Earth’s natural balance.”

UN secretary general António Guterres, issued a message on Earth Day urging governments to use their current responses to the Coronavirus pandemic to tackle the “even deeper emergency” of climate change. “Biodiversity is in steep decline. Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return,” he warned.

Even the pope got involved this year, by asking world leaders to find lessons in the pandemic and work together to protect our planet. “As the tragic Coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst,” said Pope Francis.

Read the full article by Kevin O’Sullivan in the Irish Times here: Irish Times.