22 April is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. CAFE is taking this opportunity to join with friends and partners across the world in reaffirming our commitment to working to protect the planet against the threat of climate change.

Since 1970, activists have used this day to celebrate and promote the importance of a sustainable environmental strategy. Today, maybe more than ever before, that message takes on a whole new meaning as the world faces up against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing pandemic is rightly at the forefront of many minds at the moment, but it is just as important that we don’t lose focus on the environmental crisis that we face during this time.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return. We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption”.

Disabled people in particular may experience limited access to knowledge, resources and services, due to inaccessible websites and communications for example, which may prevent them from effectively responding to climate change. Earth Day is an opportunity to raise greater awareness of these issues, and to support the rest of our society in protecting the planet.

Dr Aleksandra Kosanic believes that global environmental change should be considered a disability rights issue. She writes, “The problem is that disabled populations have, until now, been mostly absent from the global conversation. This is true for policy-making as much as it is for the scientific debate around environmental change”.

The measures enforced during the pandemic have had a noticeable effect on the environment around us. Carbon emissions have lowered due to the decrease in road and air traffic, air pollution and smog levels have dropped across many of our cities and towns, and there have been many examples of nature reclaiming lost land.

Ducks have been seen in the streets of Paris, peacocks in the shopping districts of Dubai and even wild deer have been spotted exploring downtown Tokyo.

It is essential that, once pandemic restrictions are lifted and the world returns to a sense of normality, these improvements are not undone.

Earth Day aims to flood the world with hope, optimism and action. Its organisers encourage you to S.A.V.E the world:

  • Speak up and join the global call to climate action
  • Act, either in person or digitally to raise awareness of the situation
  • Vote for measures that protect our planet and climate
  • Educate and empower the next generation of leaders

CAFE is committed to a greener and more sustainable planet, and we are doing our part to support this, including offsetting our flights and Conferences. We are also using this time during the global pandemic to reflect upon how we run our trainings and workshops and how we may be able to reduce our impact on the environment in the long term.

We encourage all of our friends, partners and stakeholders to join us in fighting to protect our planet, both on Earth Day and through sustainable strategies for the future.

For more information on how you can get involved, please visit the Earth Day website.