Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Climate and energy transition

Earth Day - 22.04.2020

Earth Day at 50: Virtual events and daily actions
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, the global celebration of life and the natural environment on our planet. Virtual events are being held in honour of this occasion in Europe and across the world.

While many of us are shut in due to confinement or otherwise taken up by the imperative of fighting the coronavirus, this should not make us forget the need for long-term action to protect our planet’s biodiversity and make societies more sustainable.

Municipalities and regions, representing the levels of government closest to citizens and everyday life, are central to the changes that need to be made.

The current crisis has had a positive ecological impact so far. The lockdowns and resulting decline in automobile traffic has led to our cities’ air to be the cleanest in decades. However, the long term impact, and particularly the exit and recovery strategies, could put high pressure on our environment. In the United States for example, the pandemic was cited as a reason to suspend environment legislation.

These changes were of course taken as necessities and at great cost to many people’s livelihood. Nonetheless, the new ways of working and providing public services show that innovative changes are possible. Now is a good time to reflect on what actions we can take – personally, professionally and politically – to make our lifestyles and societies more sustainable.

CEMR has developed a sustainability checklist which you can also use to make your events and daily work more environmentally friendly. Every little helps!
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