Join Patti Smith, Dave Matthews and Others for Virtual World Environment Day Concert
Every June 5, the UN celebrates World Environment Day, a chance to honor our shared home and bolster our commitment to protecting it.
This year's theme is "Ecosystem Restoration," so it's fitting that Pathway to Paris and 350.org are coming together with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) North America Region to kick off the weekend with a virtual festival for restoration and recovery. The festival will take place Friday, June 4, and feature musical performances from artists like Patti Smith and Dave Matthews as well as presentations from activists like 350.org's Bill McKibben and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
"It's important for us to work together to continuously draw attention to the needs of our suffering planet," performer Patti Smith said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch.
The festival will begin at 3 p.m. EST, but can be viewed from anywhere in the world via one of the organizers' Facebook pages:
In addition to Smith and Matthews, you will also have a chance to listen to performances by Rocky Dawuni, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Michael Stipe, Yury Revich, Priya Darshini, Tomas Doncker, Jordan Sanchez, Rima Fujita, Tenzin Choegyal, Patrick Watson and Jackson Smith.
The event will also feature music and remarks from Pathway to Paris co-founders Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon.
Smith and Foon have been bringing art and environment together since 2014. The aim of their organization is to unite the cultural, scientific, activist and policy spheres in order to make the Paris agreement a reality. This World Environment Day, that message is particularly urgent as the world chooses how it will recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
"We simply cannot go back to the way things were before," Smith said in a statement. "So much has been lost due to Covid, an immeasurable amount, and all the while, the climate crisis did not go away; it has always been there underneath the surface, existing every day amongst all of the other destruction and suffering. As we rebuild our world, we must make changes greater than ever before, and transition into a new era which favors our natural and wild places, and focuses deeply on protection and preservation. Global collaborations like this event provide healing and communication during such a challenging time, and these new connections must continue and lead to great change, new ideas, ambitious action, and true global renewal."
The event also honors the 2021 World Environment Day theme of ecosystem restoration, the process of healing degraded ecosystems and protecting those that are still intact. 2021 launches the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which lasts through 2030 and has been backed by more than 70 countries. During these 10 years, restoring 350 million hectares of land and water environments could generate $9 trillion and remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
"There has never been a more urgent need to mitigate human impact on species and natural systems, and to reconnect and work with nature, instead of against her," performer Priya Darshini, who is also on the board of the International WildLife Co-existence Network, said in a statement. "I am so honored to be working together with like-minded artists, and be a part of this wonderful event which serves as a great reminder to us that everything we consume, including our art, comes from nature."
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