Protect Our Species: Croatia Celebrates Earth Day 2019

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia celebrates Earth Day on April 22, 2019. 

Many events focusing on the protection of natural resources will be held on April 22, as Earth Day is celebrated worldwide. This year, Earth Day is held under the slogan “Protect Our Species”, reports Splitski Dnevnik on April 22, 2019. 

While the United Nations officially announced ‘Earth Day’ on April 22, 2009, the beginnings of Earth Day were marked in the 1970s when nationwide environmental protests took place throughout the United States – and more than 20 million people participated. Earth Day’s mark at the international level was boosted in 1990 when more than 200 million people participated in the events, which was an incentive for the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, said the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.

In Croatia, Earth Day has been recognized since 1990, with a significant engagement of the ministry and environmental protection organizations.

This year’s Earth Day under the slogan “Protect Our Species” is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of conserving species and their habitats.

“Croatia’s biodiversity is among the richest of countries in Europe. To date, about 40,000 wild species have been recorded, but it is estimated that 100,000 species are living in Croatia. Almost 2.7 percent of all recorded species are endemic species, and there are numerous endemics of freshwater fish and freshwater invertebrates,” the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy points out.

The Ministry also emphasizes the number of species and their habitats that have been endangered due to human activity and the excessive use of natural resources. Therefore, the Ministry carries out several activities and measures about nature protection, and in that respect cooperates with resources whose business is closely related to natural resources, for example in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, hunting, water management, and tourism.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy revealed they are carrying out many activities aimed at preserving the species and their habitats within several projects co-financed by EU funds, totaling over 53 million euro. Among other things, this money is co-funded for projects promoting wildlife conservation and habitat mapping, project management plans for strictly protected species and ecological network areas, projects to reduce the threat of invasive foreign species as one of the biggest threats to biodiversity, and projects to strengthen the system of care for injured strictly protected animals.

“An enormous effort is invested in implementing mechanisms for accepting the procedure for the ecological network, as one of the most important ecological network preservation tools implemented since 2007 and in monitoring and preventing illegal trade in protected species, as well as other illegal activities over wild species,” the Ministry said.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of preserving our home.

WWF Adria invites citizens to join Earth Day this year by connecting with nature and making small but significant steps for our planet like recycling and sorting waste daily, terminating single-use plastics, supporting sustainable products and using solutions to reduce our impact on the earth.

WWF states that the Earth is faced with the challenge of climate change and the degradation of biodiversity, and we must ensure the sustainable future of the planet. Nature can be without people, but people cannot live without nature, and it is imperative to realize that sustainable development is the only benefit of both nature and people.

David Attenborough, WWF Ambassador, a naturalist and narrator of Our Planet, warned viewers of this in the new documentary series.

“We’ve become the biggest threat, but it’s not too late to face all of the problems we have created ourselves, only if we work now. As humans we have shown to be problem-solving experts, but not in this case. We have the opportunity to create a sustainable world with clean air and water, unlimited energy, and rich fish stocks,” Attenborough said.

To demonstrate that a different, viable world is possible, WWF Adria has gathered partners and presented their successful examples of good practice presented through the ‘Nature for People’ platform. Each of these stories is said to be a good inspiration for new ideas, and through the description of the steps, some example of good practice has been achieved, and can easily be applied.

“By collecting successful examples of the synergy of people and nature, we share the ways and the steps that have been successful for others, so we want to inspire and encourage as many people as possible to move in that direction. We can all contribute more to the preservation of biodiversity and solve the challenges together,” said Kasandra-Zorica Ivanić of WWF Adria.

“Let this Earth Day be a chance to think about our responsible behavior to preserve our common home,” Ivanić said.

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