(CNN)As the 21st century progresses, our fight to protect our planet is becoming increasingly urgent. Last year, wildfires blazing in the Arctic Circle set new emissions records, the Atlantic hurricane season raged stronger than ever before, and we came to the end of the hottest decade ever recorded.
A recent study that attempts to quantify environmental damage revealed that 97% of Earth’s land area may no longer be “ecologically intact,” resulting in reduced animal populations and loss of species. The theme for this year’s Earth day is Restore Our Earth. As parts of the world start opening up after a year of Covid-induced lockdowns, the event’s organizers are putting out a call for action and highlighting the importance of combating environmental destruction. “The theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only way to address climate change,” says Earth Day board member and leading environmental sociologist Dorceta E. Taylor. “We cannot put off for tomorrow what we can do today,” she says. “Everyone must do their part.”Read MoreScroll through the gallery above to see some incredible changemakers who are working to save and restore Earth’s rich biodiversity.