Earth Day 2021: The view from the intersection of agriculture and climate

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day, the global celebration marking the commitment to protect our planet, and the people and wildlife on it.

This year’s official Earth Day theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth” (themes are chosen every year by the environmental nonprofit and organizer, Earth Day Network). Now, it might be a little cheesy, but I appreciate the idea. It centers the conversation on the natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems, which face unprecedented challenges from climate change and the human activities causing it.

When the first Earth Day was established in 1970 in the US, citizens came together to celebrate and protect the environment. More than 20 million people turned out for events and demonstrations, making the first Earth Day one of the largest single-day mobilizations in history at the time.

The first Earth Day, 1970. Source: EarthDay.org

Since then, we have seen the repair of the ozone hole, drastic improvements in acid rain from SO2 restrictions, regulations controlling harmful chemicals like PCBs, international treaties pledging global cooperation to cut emissions, 100% renewable targets from leading corporates, and the normalization of carbon neutrality commitments. We still have a ways to go before we can be satisfied with the state of our planet, but let’s not forget how far we have come.

Agriculture in particular sits in a unique and interesting position in the climate change debate — it is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters, as well as one of the largest carbon sequestration tools in our toolbelt in the fight against climate change. It is the most critical and necessary sector of our economy, and simultaneously, it is one of the most exposed and vulnerable sectors to the impacts of a changing climate.

We want to take this time to thank the farmers and agriculture companies that lead on sustainability and help set the pace of progress in the industry. You are the change we need and your leadership will help shape the future of our planet for years to come.

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Accelerating climate resilience in food, water, and energy www.climate.ai