Celebrate Earth Day!

Worldwatch Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offer information and activities to mark the 2011 celebration of Earth Day.

| April 22, 2011

  • Earth Day activities help remind us that the planet's future is in our hands.
    Earth Day activities help remind us that the planet's future is in our hands.

  • Earth Day activities help remind us that the planet's future is in our hands.

Washington, D.C. — Rising temperatures, erratic weather, population growth, and scarce water resources – along with growing civil unrest and skyrocketing food prices – are putting unprecedented stress on people and the planet. For more than 40 years, Earth Day has served as a call to action, mobilizing individuals and organizations around the world to address these challenges. This year, Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project highlights agriculture – often blamed as a driver of environmental problems – as an emerging solution.

Agriculture is a source of food and income for the world's poor and a primary engine for economic growth. It also offers untapped potential for mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity, and for lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Nourishing the Planet, a two-year evaluation of innovations in agriculture, offers 15 sustainable solutions that are working on the ground to alleviate global hunger while also protecting soil, water, and other vital natural resources. "Agriculture encompasses such a large chunk of the planet that creating healthy economies, mitigating climate change, and improving livelihoods will require a longstanding commitment to the world's farmers," says Danielle Nierenberg, Nourishing the Planet co-project director.

Past attempts to combat hunger have tended to focus narrowly on a few types of crops, rely heavily on chemical fertilizers, and ignore women farmers. "There's been relatively little focus on low-cost ways to boost soil fertility and make better use of scarce water, and on solutions that exist beyond the farm and all along the food chain," says Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin. From urban farming projects that are feeding our growing cities to rotational farming practices that store carbon in the soils and help mitigate climate change, small-scale and low-input innovations can go a long way in protecting the environment – not only on Earth Day, but every day.

This Earth Day, Nourishing the Planet offers 15 solutions to guide farmers, scientists, politicians, agribusinesses and aid agencies as they commit to promoting a healthier environment and a more food-secure future.

1.  Guaranteeing the Right to Food. Guaranteeing the human right to adequate food - now and for future generations - requires that policymakers incorporate this right into food security laws and programs at the regional, national, and international level. Governments have a role in providing the public goods to support sustainable agriculture, including extension services, farmer-to-farmer transmission of knowledge, storage facilities, and infrastructure that links farmers to consumers.

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