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Earth Day 2021: best of worldwide events to "Restore our Earth"

This Thursday, April the 22nd, 2021 is Earth Day, whose theme "Restore our Earth" is absolutely essential to us. The first Earth Day in 1970 marked the beginning of a global ecological awareness, which has been growing ever since.

Fifty years later, more than a billion people in more than 190 countries around the world are gathering to celebrate our planet and its unique biodiversity. Here is an overview of the events to follow.

Thomas Pesquet and the departure of the Alpha mission

The Alpha mission is about to take off towards the International Space Station (ISS), with Thomas Pesquet on board, the first European to be commander of a spacecraft for about a month, and to fly on the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule! The mission was dedicated to the 17 sustainable development goals, whose colours proudly adorn the outline of the famous Alpha logo.

During the next 6 months that he will spend in space, he will be in charge of carrying out many experiments with very different stakes.

- Renewable Foam, which aims to test a recyclable carry-on foam to replace petroleum-based protective foams

- The study of blobs and their evolution in space, in collaboration with some 2,000 primary, secondary and high school classes in collaboration with the CNRS and CNES

- The analysis of the brain through several experiments and measurements on sleep, cell ageing, acoustic levitation, etc.

The liftoff of the mission, originally scheduled for April 22 and postponed to April 23 at 11:49 GMT for weather reasons, which you can follow live here below.

“What we do in space is part of a larger initiative to improve our societies and the world we live in.”

Thomas Pesquet, French astronaut

Overview Effect: the Earth seen by Patrick Viveret

During his first mission on the ISS, Thomas Pesquet experienced the Overview Effect, the awareness observed among astronauts in orbit. A phenomenon described by Nicole Stott and many other astronauts, which manifests itself by a feeling of "deep love for the Earth" and the sensation of "sharing a single home" as described by the NGO OneHome, whose mission is to make this Overview Effect come alive on a large scale through videos.

Discover the new OneHome video with breathtaking images guided by the voice of philosopher Patrick Viveret released today on Earth Day! An invitation to contemplate our beautiful planet

The United States leading the Leaders' Climate Summit

The United States are also organizing the Leaders' Climate Summit this Thursday, April 22. This event, initiated by President Joe Biden, will bring together some 40 heads of states and will be broadcasted live for the general public. As a reminder, the United States had left the Paris Agreements shortly after the accession of Donald Trump to the presidency; a decision revoked by Joe Biden, since the United States reinstated the Paris Agreements last February 19.

5 years after the signing of the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement provides for a very ambitious goal of containing the rise in the average temperature of the planet "well below 2°C" by "continuing the action taken to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5°C" (Article 2) by 2100.

This is the first time since the 1997 Kyoto agreements that the 197 signatory countries have agreed on a "universal" objective. Among the principles stated, the key points to remember are:

  • Achieving carbon neutrality
  • Increasing adaptation to the effects of climate change
  • Supporting developing countries
Victorien, Emmanuel Macron and Nicolas Hulot standing next to the Energy Observer's replica

What is the outcome?

In 2020, the states that had committed themselves had to submit their first report. According to the Climate Change Performance Index, which ranks countries and their actions since the agreement, no signatory country is sufficiently committed to reducing global warming to below 2°C.

In the most optimistic scenario, the average increase of the global temperature will be kept a little over 3°C by 2100.

If member states fail to meet their national obligations on greenhouse gas emissions, citizens' movements can take legal action to ensure that measures are taken. This is the case of the Dutch Supreme Court, which ordered the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020.

The main issue today: the application of the Paris Agreement within the States.

Taking concrete actions: Solutions to preserve our planet

Energy Observer Solutions is the platform of women and men who implement every day at their own scale concrete solutions to meet the challenges of the SDGs. Find inspiration with our selection of Solutions to (re)discover!

Bee Aware about the plight of the bumblebee

BeeAware is raising awareness among the population of Malta about the plight of bees and their benefits for mankind by educating them about their preservation and apiculture. It is a crucial campaign at a time when bees are under threat on a planetary scale.

Marker Wadden, rewilding in motion

Resurrected from a failed polder project, Holland boasts Europe’s largest rewilding operation. Today, there is an abundance of flora and fauna once more thanks to the creation of an archipelago of 5 artificial islets.

CascioMar, the mother of all fish

Rearing juvenile fish, in complete safety, before releasing them into the sea. Such is the solution put forward by CascioMar in a bid to replenish the lost biodiversity in a Mediterranean threatened by pollution and overfishing.