International Mother Earth Day: a call to care for our planet
April 22, 2023 is International Mother Earth Day. This day focuses on emphasizing the importance of rebuilding our deteriorated relationship with nature. It is a worldwide awareness campaign that seeks to raise awareness of the threats to the well-being of the planet and the life it supports.
The United Nations General Assembly declared April 22 International Mother Earth Day in 2009 through resolution A/RES/63/278. This document was presented by the Plurinational State of Bolivia and endorsed by more than 50 member states.
Although the importance of this day was only highlighted in 2009, it is worth noting that awareness of the importance of the environment among our societies began in the 1970s, with the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, which marked the beginning of the global awareness of the interdependence between people, other living species and our planet.
Each year, International Mother Earth Day has a central theme that represents a new focus on a particular environmental concern. This year’s theme is “Invest in our planet”, focused on convincing businesses, governments and citizens around the world of the need to invest in our planet to improve our environment and give future generations a better and safer future.
Mother Earth is giving more and more signals for us to slow down the rate at which we are polluting the planet and worsening climate change. Heat waves, extreme weather events, massive forest fires, floods or rising sea levels are threatening terrestrial ecosystems and all the beings that inhabit them. Even so, at present, we humans continue to cause changes in nature with our unsustainable production and consumption system. Thus, today, serious crimes are being committed against the environment and are primarily responsible for the climate crisis. Therefore, FIBGAR supports the recognition of ecocide as an international crime and aims to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by these crimes.
In 2021, the Panel of Independent Experts convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation, of which FIBGAR was also a member, officially presented the definition of ecocide. They identified the crime of ecocide as the massive damage and destruction of ecosystems.
The platform Stop Ecocide has been lobbying for years for the International Criminal Court to recognize it as a fifth international crime, along with the crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity, and therefore to make it a legally prosecutable offense.
In this regard, last Tuesday, March 21, the European Parliament officially declared its support for ecocide-level offenses to be included in the European Union Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law. This is the first time that such a definition has been introduced in a European legislative text.
The recognition of ecocide at the European level would have repercussions at the global level, as this implies that all European Union Member States must incorporate this new crime into their national legislation. Moreover, given that European states constitute more than 20% of the States Parties to the International Criminal Court, this would represent a step closer to international recognition of ecocide as a crime.
Similarly, from FIBGAR we continue to collaborate in promoting the defense and protection of the environment through various initiatives. Specifically, the Project “Environmental and Digital Citizenship: Fostering Youth Engagement for a Safer Environment and Responsible Use of ICT”(DEC) seeks to promote digital transformation, the fight against climate change and the participation of young people in democratic life so that they become agents of change in their communities.
The DEC program, thanks to its awareness on the environmental footprint and linking the different needs of young people to the world of politics, helps reinforce the sense of participation of youth in social life and encourages them to generate ideas and proposals for make a difference in environmental matters.
In addition, from FIBGAR we carry out other projects such as “Guardianes del planeta: Los Derechos de los Pueblso Indígenas” in which we highlight the important role of indigenous communities as protectors of the environment.
Javier Porres, FIBGAR collaborator.
Madrid, April 22, 2023.