Ban Ki-moon, Bloomberg celebrate Earth Day in Times Square

10:02, April 23, 2010      

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the public in celebrating the 40th Earth Day in Times Square Thursday.

Among the crowd were environmental activists and business leaders. Hundreds of native New Yorkers and tourists attended the event, which included performances from the cast of the Broadway show "Hair" and music group "Grace Potter and the Nocturnals," with Time Square's famous flashing billboards in the background.

Ban stressed the need to respect and care for the Earth, noting that safeguarding the environment would help achieve development goals and ensure the health and well-being of its inhabitants.

"Without a sustainable environmental base, we will have little hope of attaining our objectives for reducing poverty and hunger and improving health and human well-being," he said.

The secretary general stressed that the Earth is under pressure. "We are making progressively unreasonable demands on her, and she is showing the strain."

"For all of human history we have depended on nature's bounty for sustenance, well-being and development. Too often we have drawn on nature's capital without putting back. We are now beginning to see the consequences of failing to safeguard our investment," Ban said.

Climate change and the depleted ozone layer are among the starkest examples, Ban said, noting that biological diversity is in rapid decline, that freshwater and marine resources are increasingly polluted, and soils and fisheries are growing barren.

"The impact of our neglectful stewardship is being felt most by the world's most vulnerable people," he said. If they are to break out of the poverty trap, they need at the very least fertile land, clean water and adequate sanitation, he noted.

"I call on all governments, businesses and citizens of the world to give our Mother Earth the respect and care she deserves," he added.

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