António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, on International Mother Earth Day | 22 April 2023
22 April 2023
On International Mother Earth Day, we reflect on humanity's most important relationship — our relationship with the natural world. From the air we breathe to the water we drink to the soil that grows our food – humanity's health depends on the health of Mother Earth. Yet we seem hellbent on destruction. Our actions are laying waste to forests, jungles, farmland, wetlands, oceans, coral reefs, rivers, seas, and lakes. Biodiversity is collapsing as one million species teeter on the brink of extinction. We must end these relentless and senseless wars on nature. We have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions. But we must pick up the pace. We need accelerated climate action with deeper, faster emissions cuts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. We also need massively scaled-up investments in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the crisis. Healthy ecosystems — from oceans and rivers to forests and prairies are also critical in our fight against climate change. Let's get to work to implement the historic UN biodiversity agreement to ensure that 30 per cent of Earth's land and water is protected by 2030. At every step, governments must lead the way. But corporations, institutions and civil society also have a vital role. Finally, we must learn from the time-won wisdom, knowledge and leadership of Indigenous Peoples, whose environmental stewardship stretches back millennia, and who hold many of the solutions to the world's climate and biodiversity crises. This Earth Day, I urge people everywhere to raise your voices – in your schools, workplaces and faith communities, and on social media platforms – and demand leaders make peace with nature. Let us all do our part to protect our common home for the sake of people and planet right now, and for the generations to come.