New York, 18 July 2022 (TDI): On the occasion of ‘Mandela Day,’ the United Nations (UN) brought the world’s attention to the need to protect the environment by sharing the words of Nelson Mandela, “We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.”

The message was shared in a tweet and urged people to change the world for the better today and every day and build on Mandela’s legacy.

The message further stated that every climate action counts and encouraged people to act for a sustainable future under “ActNow,” UN Campaign for individual action.

Nelson Mandela: an advocate for environmental protection

Nelson Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, used his influence to raise awareness about the environmental injustices, mainly the rising water issue in many underdeveloped nations.

At the 2002 Earth Summit, Mandela asked that clean water and sanitation be recognized as a basic human right and a global aim on the political agendas of all nations.

Mandela made the keynote speech at the event of South Africa’s WaterDome, which coincided with the historic World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. During the event, water stakeholders from public and commercial organizations debuted and displayed water-related activities, policies, and new technology.

“That our government has made significant progress in bringing potable water nearer to so many more people than was previously the case, I rate amongst the most important achievements of democracy in our country,” said Mandela in the speech which became popular as “No Water, No Future.”

Mandela had a profound personal connection to the earth. He was an ardent gardener, even throughout his lengthy confinement.

In his book, ‘A Long Walk to Freedom,’ he wrote, “To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom .”

On his 89th birthday, Mandela convened a group of famous politicians, human rights activists, and others to launch “The Elders,” an organization that has targeted environmental degradation and climate change, among other topics.

Also read: South Africa celebrates Freedom Day

Mandela Day:  

Nelson Mandela Day or Mandela Day is an annual international day commemorating Nelson Mandela. It is observed each year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday.

The United Nations formally declared Mandela Day in 2009, with the inaugural UN Mandela Day taking place on July 18, 2010.

The theme of Madela Day 2022: 

This year, with the motto “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are,” the day will emphasize the problem of food security and climate change.

It also motivates people to take action to counter problems in their capacities, in line with the ActNow campaign.

UN-Secretary-General’s Message on Mandela Day 2022: 

In his message, the Secretary-General said:

Today, the world honours a giant of our time; a leader of unparalleled courage and towering achievement; and a man of quiet dignity and deep humanity.

Nelson Mandela was a healer of communities and a mentor to generations.

He remains a moral compass and reference to us all.

Madiba walked the path to freedom and dignity with steely determination – and with compassion and love.

He showed that each and every one of us has the ability – and responsibility – to build a better future for all.

Our world today is marred by war; overwhelmed by emergencies; blighted by racism, discrimination, poverty, and inequalities; and threatened by climate disaster.

Let us find hope in Nelson Mandela’s example and inspiration in his vision.

Today and every day, let us honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy by taking action.

By speaking out against hate and standing up for human rights.

By embracing our common humanity – rich in diversity, equal in dignity, united in solidarity.

And by together making our world more just, compassionate, prosperous, and sustainable for all.