Earth Day in lockdown: A chance to reimagine the future

From New Delhi to Beijing, millions of people will be breathing cleaner air on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day….

And award-winning conservationists and filmmakers Derek and Beverly Joubert say the lockdowns around the world have created a chance to reimagine a different future…

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORERS, FILMMAKERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS, BEVERLY AND DERECK JOUBERT, ON CORONAVIRUS, SAYING:“'This has been such a traumatic thing for the world, that if we don't come out of it changed or better then it's been a tremendous waste of opportunity, and we should admonish ourselves."

The husband and wife team were filmed with lions in the Mara Plains in Kenya, part of a National Geographic film to mark 50 years of Earth Day called: "Born Wild: The Next Generation."

The one hour special highlights how species are faring and the chances for their survival.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORERS, FILMMAKERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS, BEVERLY AND DERECK JOUBERT, ASKED ABOUT MESSAGE OF THEIR SECTION OF THE FILM, SAYING: "So listen, when we were born there were 450,000 lions and today there are 20,000 lions and so if you project that shocking message alone people will get engaged and they get it.”

64-year-old Dereck Joubert, who with his wife has made over 25 films for National Geographic, acknowledged that a collapse in wildlife tourism as a result of the outbreak could see whole communities suffer and risk a spike in poaching if vast tracts of land are without visitors.

But Beverly Joubert said overall she still remained hopeful.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORERS, FILMMAKERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS, BEVERLY AND DERECK JOUBERT, ASKED ABOUT MESSAGE OF THEIR SECTION OF THE FILM, SAYING:

“The next generation is doing pretty phenomenally well in understanding that there's a problem and they want to try and fix it. We see Greta Thunberg for instance, speaking out and many kids around the world are now speaking out. So it does give us hope.”

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged governments to use their economic responses to the outbreak to tackle the "even deeper emergency" of climate change, in his message for Earth Day.

And Derek Joubert repeated that message, encouraging the public to learn from this global pause:

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORERS, FILMMAKERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS, BEVERLY AND DERECK JOUBERT, ASKED ABOUT MESSAGE OF THEIR SECTION OF THE FILM, SAYING:

“You don't have these moments for nothing. You've got to grow from them. So I really hope that we don't simply go back to business as usual because that would be a tremendous waste of all the sadness and death.''

The first Earth Day took place on April 22nd, 1970 when millions of Americans took to the streets to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward. It has since been adopted around the world.

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