International Day of Peace: A Spotlight on Climate Change

September 21 marks the 38th year of the International Day of Peace, which was founded by the United Nations (UN) in the hope that all of humanity would to contribute to the building of a culture of peace. Each year the UN assigns a theme to bring awareness to a specific issue related to peace. This year's theme is "Climate Action for Peace," which the UN chose to bring attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way of protecting and promoting peace throughout the world.

A Loud Call for Action

Each year for the International Day of Peace, the theme aligns with one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and this year's theme aligns with SDG 13. The UN created the goal to combat climate change and its impacts. The effects of climate change can be seen all over the world: sea levels are constantly rising, weather disasters are drastically affecting impoverished countries, and greenhouse gas emissions are at their highest levels in history. According to the United Nations, climate-related and geophysical disasters claimed an estimated 1.3 million lives between 1998 and 2017.

In 2016, several countries came together to adopt The Paris Agreement, which was a direct response to climate change, specifically rising global temperatures. The main aim of the agreement was to limit global temperatures from rising above levels that would be irreversible. In 2018, 185 parties, including government officials and global organizations, ratified the agreement to prolong their commitment to finding solutions to climate change.

Climate Action Summit

On September 21 to 23, a Climate Action Summit is being held in New York with the goal of turning the pledges under the Paris Agreement into action. The UN secretary general Antonio Guterres sent out letters inviting heads of state to the summit and urged governments to come with concrete and meaningful plans for action. The UN secretary general wants to see how governments plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030.

The summit will bring together government leaders, private and public sector authorities, along with international organizations to develop solutions in six areas: finance, energy transition, industry transition, nature-based solutions, cities and local action, resilience and adaption.

The summit will kick-off with a youth climate summit, which will bring young activists, entrepreneurs, and change-makers together to come up with solutions to combat climate change.

What You Can Do

The United Nations is calling upon everyone to take action to tackle climate change. Even if it is simple actions, such as taking public transportation a few times a week or turning the lights off in your home. Or you can organize a campaign in your community to raise awareness of climate change. The UN asks to share your ideas to combat climate change on social media by using #PeaceDay and #ClimateAction.

You can support Planet Aid's mission to combatting climate change by donating your clothing to one of our large yellow bins. Visit our "What We Do" page to learn why we diverted over 90 million pounds of clothing from landfills last year.