by Meredith Montgomery
Representatives from nearly every country on Earth gathered in Paris for the 2015 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Paris Agreement a triumph for people, the planet and multilateralism. The signing ceremony is set for Earth Day, April 22, at UN headquarters, in New York City.
For the first time, every country has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience to related impacts and act internationally and domestically to address climate change. Other key elements aimed at achieving a state of climate neutrality, or having a zero carbon footprint, before the century’s end include transparency, accountability and a plan for developed countries to support climate action in developing countries.
“A big part of the Paris agreement focuses on the reduction of gas, coal and oil, but there is also a focus on preserving trees and expanding forests,” says Earth Day Network (EDN) spokesperson Timothy McHugh, referring to this year’s Earth Day theme of Trees for Earth.
This year also kicks off a four-year countdown to the environmental campaign’s 50th anniversary on Earth Day 2020. “By that mark, we hope to have planted 7.8 billion trees—approximately one tree for every person on the planet. Trees are vitally important because they soak up carbon and clean the air,” McHugh explains.
In addition to countering climate change and pollution, EDN’s global tree planting seeks to support communities and local economies, protect biodiversity and inspire environmental stewardship.
From global leaders convening at the UN to those participating in community events close to home, billions of the world’s citizens will celebrate our precious home planet this year. To join the worldwide observance, find an event online at EarthDay.org