Earth Day 2021 – Restore the Earth

Earth Day started in 1970 in the United States to bring awareness for environmental issues, especially pollution, toxic waste, and wildlife extinction.

In 2021, Earth Day focuses on one of the planet’s most critical issues: climate change and its impacts. Global warming has led to ecosystem changes that affect people’s lives and livelihoods – extreme climate events, like floods and heat waves have led to loss of lives and economic challenges. 

With the theme  “Restore our Earth”, Earth Day calls attention to the actions that can help reduce the impact of climate change in the long term. The Biden administration has called a Global Climate Summit on Earth Day 2021, where global leaders will discuss the efforts to combat the climate crisis.

Climate change affects seasonal patterns – like temperature, rains, etc – this alters the distribution and quantity of living species, and consequently the lives of the populations that depend on the products and services of biodiversity and impact food systems. The destruction of natural habitats not only threatens biodiversity, but can lead to the appearance of new diseases, like we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Amazon is the biggest rainforest in the world and is critical to contain climate change and to regulate the planet’s climate.  Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere as they grow and store it. Deforestation and fires liberate those gases, contributing to global warming. Also, the Amazon has a key role in regulating humidity and rains, both locally and regionally. The region also has one of the greatest biodiversity concentrations on Earth. One in every 10 species is native to the Amazon. The biodiversity and the climate role of the world’s greatest forest makes it a global priority and USAID’s main focus in Brazil.

The Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB) brings together partners from the public and private sector, as well as civil society. It aims to ensure the integrity and conservation of the Brazilian Amazon ecosystem over the next 20 years – with the lasting effects of the Partnership – as well as improve the well-being and socioeconomic status of rural and traditional communities living in the Amazon region. One of the objectives of the Partnership is also to support Brazil to avoid 50 million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere until 2030.

PCAB has also contributed to fighting climate change, strengthening protected area management, fostering economic models that make forest conservation more economically viable, and generate income to local populations while avoiding deforestation. The 153 conservation areas in Brazil with PCAB projects have reached 99,99% conservation in 2020, a 97% deforestation rate drop from the previous year.

Learn more about PCAB projectsUS Climate Summit, and Earth Day.