Earth Day 2020
Today in lockdown we celebrate the 50th anniversary of global Earth Day – we see extraordinary pictures of animals reclaiming the streets from penguins in Cape Town and monkeys swimming in Barbadian hotel pools, to goats freely roaming in Llandudno; as well as unmanaged verges and small green spaces returning to weed and wildflower.
As we emerge during the coming months, we may well have learnt more about ourselves, our resilience and our ability to adapt, but most importantly our desire to work for a common good. We have all been inspired daily by news of individual effort and team play in all walks of life.
Since 1982, the Conservation Foundation has been enabling and celebrating actions that bring people together to enhance their environment. We incubate not only ideas and turn them into action, but we also help to grow new organisations.
From our early days, we pioneered early collaborations between industry and the environmental movement focusing on ‘Healthier Profits’. We have also encouraged personal and local actions, which we see today in our Kenya Tea Plantations, Gardening Against the Odds, Elms and Why Eat Wild Meat? projects.
The Conservation Foundation will continue to enable and celebrate the small actions that we can all take individually or as communities to enhance and conserve our natural world.
We still subscribe to the call to action of the first Earth Summit of 1992 – The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) which codified Sustainable Development – Think Global, Act Local.
Our focus is on growing and helping environmental projects and organisations that embrace biodiversity, well-being and health, as well as the green economy and sustainable livelihoods.
Each of our projects is framed to support specific Sustainable Development Goals – and as Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said on BBC1 on Sunday 19th April https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p089xqnh
“We must not forget about the medium and long-term challenges when we are fighting the virus, when we are fighting this war, this immediate war. There is one issue which is our single most important intergenerational responsibility to preserve the planet for the next generation. And of course, that not only has to do with climate but also to do with biodiversity, to do with the soils, to do with the oceans and also the air. We absolutely have to focus on the fact that there are other issues, that there are other fights that we have to fight.”
We are conscious that climate change is now the over-arching issue for our planet and our projects will all reflect this be they about biodiversity, well-being or the green economy.
Today our shout out is for David Shreeve and David Bellamy, who set-up the Foundation together with a hope for a better world. David S providing the creative force and David B inspiring many of us through his television programmes to become zoologists, botanists and early environmentalists.
As our Founder and Director David Shreeve writes:
“There surely has never been an Earth Day like this. Throughout its 50 year history it has enabled us all to put the spotlight on issues of the day highlighting both the enormous challenges and the huge opportunities.
We say the world has changed, but part of the change needs to come from us and how we look after the Earth. We should set aside part of every day to give thought to the Earth, but we can use this day especially to appreciate how we all need to review the affect we have on the planet.
I know from first-hand how David Bellamy spent his life feeling so passionate about the world – he signed all his letters ‘thank you for caring’. When we launched The Conservation Foundation we wanted it to be a way of helping communities by giving groups and individuals support for ideas and projects which showed how people care in so many ways about their local environment.
We were also trying to show that concern for the environment was more than an interest for the weekend or a slogan for a tee shirt. It has now become real. In just a few days we have seen the air get cleaner, the world become quieter, the birds are making more noise. We have learnt the hard way that we need to look after the Earth in a much more responsible way. If this Earth Day brings that message home in a lasting way, then it will have been a very special day indeed.”
From all of us at The Conservation Foundation Happy Earth Day.
Dorothy Harris, Chair of the Board of Trustees