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Mahatma Gandhi once said – Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. Human beings have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue. According to a study published in the journal Current Biology few months ago, a vast area the size of two Alaskas – about 3.3 million square kilometres – has been tarnished by human activity since 1993. Humans account for only 0.01% of all biomass on Earth, but despite being such a small part of the planet, they have caused the annihilation of 83% of all wild mammals and half of all plants. There is an increasing need for us to remind ourselves that we must protect and safeguard our environment for our future generations. With this view, April 22nd every year is observed as International Earth Day.

  • Earth Day is April 22 of every year. April 22, 2020 marked 50 years of Earth Day.
  • Theme of Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species
  • Theme for Earth Day 2020 was climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
  • Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable

History of Earth Day:

  • Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
  • On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
  • The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event

Result of the first Earth Day:

  • The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States.
  • The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws.
  • Earth Day continues to hold major international significance: In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.


  • It is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.
  • This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
  • This day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
  • This year, Earth Day focuses on putting an end to plastic use and thereby reducing pollution. According to Earth Day Network, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behaviour about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.

Policy changes to keep up with:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC):
    • It was initiated primarily in response to developments at the international level, the eight missions focus on India’s domestic development needs.
  • Ratifying Paris Agreement
    • The 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) successfully concluded in Paris after intense negotiations by the Parties followed by the adoption of the Paris Agreement on post-2020 actions on climate change. India ratified the same and is actively working towards the goals.
  • Tackling Climate Change:
    • To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund. To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • Clean Fuel
    • India introduces BS-VI petrol and diesel. Delhi will be the first city to leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI. 13 major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, etc. will make the shift from 1st Jan 2019. The rest of the country will make the change from April 2020 next year.
  • No Plastics:
    • India has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.
  • National Bio-fuel policy
  • National offshore wind-energy policy
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):
    • ISA is a group of 121 solar rich countries which are situated either on or between the tropics. Aims to deploy over 1000 GW of solar energy and mobilize more than $1000 billion into solar power by 2030.
  • The Clean Development Mechanism projects in India
    • Indian projects have been issued a huge number of Renewable Energy Certificates in lieu of their green deeds.
  • State Action Plans on Climate Change:
    • The State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) aim to create institutional capacities and implement sectoral activities to address climate change. These plans are focused on adaptation with mitigation as co-benefit in sectors such as water, agriculture, tourism, forestry, transport, habitat and energy.
  • Coal Cess and the National Clean Energy Fund
    • India is one of the few countries around the world to have a carbon tax in the form of a cess on coal. Not only has India imposed such a cess but it has also been progressively increasing it. The National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) which is supported by the cess on coal was created for the purposes of financing and promoting clean energy initiatives, funding research in the area of clean energy and for any other related activities.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility:
    • Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
    • The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme:
    • The scheme was launched in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission:
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) is a campaign that was launched by Prime Minister on October 2, 2014. The campaign seeks to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4041 statutory cities and towns.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change
    • A National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) has been established with a budget provision of I350 crore for the year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. It is meant to assist in meeting the cost of national- and state-level adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.