50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

April 22, 2020

Today, the United States observes the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.  The United States is proud of its record as a world leader in promoting clean water and air, conserving natural resources, and protecting nature while driving economic growth and fostering resilience to natural disasters at home and abroad.  The United States is also a world leader in providing clean and affordable energy to our citizens and providing secure energy to other countries, thanks to our innovative private sector.

On this Earth Day, we also underscore the dangerous consequences of wildlife trafficking.  Wildlife “wet markets,” in which live species are sold for human consumption, are hotspots for wildlife trafficking, create risks for the generation and spread of diseases, and may have played a critical role in the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  On this Earth Day, we call on the People’s Republic of China and other countries to close wildlife wet markets permanently, a move that would reduce risks to human health inside and outside of China and discourage the consumption of trafficked wildlife and wildlife products.  We call on all governments to join our efforts to combat and put an end to the scourge that is wildlife trafficking.

Even as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an extraordinary year to highlight U.S. environmental and scientific achievements.  We congratulate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as they celebrate their 50th anniversaries.  We recognize NASA’s Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program as it celebrates 25 years of students and citizen scientists around the world contributing meaningfully to our global environment.  The United States will continue to partner internationally to leave a better America and a better world for future generations.