April 21, 2018: The World Earth Day, falling on April 22, is of particular significance this year since several essential life support systems like soil, water, biodiversity and climate, flora and fauna are undergoing severe damage. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, more than 75 percent of land has been altered by human action. A recent article in Science (30 March 2018) stresses the need for urgent action in preventing further land degradation. Land and water security are fundamental to human wellbeing and survival. The provision of soil health cards to farmers is an important step in land protection. In addition to human induced damage, climate change adds to the problem. Therefore, the World Earth Day will be a day of reminding us to the need to safeguard our life support system. It should be our endeavour to undo the damage already done to the extent possible. I therefore hope that the World Earth Day will be a day of renewed commitment to protect our blue planet.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.