International Day of Peace: Preventing conflict through climate action

Author: Lauren M. Johnson, CNN Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Tomer (dad and high school teacher), Hanit (mom), Ariel (9), Yahav (3mos) holding signs both with the same message. (John Torigoe/CNN)

The International Day of Peace is observed every Sept. 21, in order to renew the world’s commitment to seeking peace.

Peace Day was established in 1981 by the United Nations and is usually marked with a particular theme. The theme is announced on the 100-day countdown to Peace Day by the UN Secretary-General.

This year’s theme coincides with the massive worldwide climate protests– “Climate Action for Peace.”

“The global climate emergency is a threat to security and stability. As coastal areas and degraded inland areas are becoming uninhabitable, millions of people are being forced to seek safety and better lives elsewhere,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement announcing the theme. “With extreme weather events and disasters becoming more frequent and severe, disputes over dwindling resources risk fueling climate-related conflict.”

Global climate change protests are happening across Israel. This protest is in Jerusalem. (John Torigoe/CNN)

Climate action is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN in 2016. The Sustainable Goals cover a broad range of issues including poverty, hunger, health, and social justice. Climate action specifically refers to immediate action to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change.

The UN is also convening a Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23 to talk about what immediate action can be taken to implement the Paris Agreement, an international pact to fight climate change.

“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace. And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit,” said Guterres.

The UN encourages everyone to get involved by doing simple things such as turning off lights and walking somewhere instead of driving.

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