U Thant and the Earth Day

U Thant was a passionate advocate of environmental protection during his tenure as UN Secretary-General. His efforts led to the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1972 and the creation of the UN Environment Programme (now UN Environment).

The video from the first “Earth Day” event at the UN, 22 April 1971 (you might be able to spot George H.W. Bush in the background).

The quote below is from his statement to the UN General Assembly in October 1970.

“As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us: “With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas,” or, “They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them.”

Over the coming decades Myanmar may be devastated by global climate change. It is the country’s number one long-term security threat. Protecting the environment at home and leading global efforts to address climate change should be a top priority.

Source: U Thant House