Happy Earth Day, central Ohio!

People around the world are coming together today to celebrate the planet and take action to protect it. Earth Day has been celebrated for 48 years, with more than one billion people all over the world marking the day through celebrations and volunteer projects.

This year’s theme is End Plastic Pollution. The Earth Day Network, the organization behind the annual event, wants to stop the use of single-use plastic products, lead and support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution, and mobilize and educate people about ways to diminish plastic pollution.

Earth Day Columbus is the largest volunteer-led Earth Day service project in the U.S. The week-long event leading up to Earth Day is organized by Green Columbus, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable living in central Ohio and around the world.

Over the last 11 years, volunteers have planted more than 114,000 trees and put in more than 100,000 work hours to help make central Ohio a greener place.

Despite massive involvement in Columbus and around the world, environmental conservationists and activists still have a lot of work to do.

According to the World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London’s 2016 Living Planet assessment, wildlife populations across the globe have declined by 58% since Earth Day began in 1970, and up to two-thirds of the planet’s vertebrates could be gone by 2020. Experts say pollution, habitat destruction and climate change are the biggest factors behind the decline.

It’s not just the animal kingdom that’s in trouble either: The State of the World’s Plants report, published in 2016, found that 20% of the world’s plant species are facing the threat of extinction. The report found that habitat destruction for farming, deforestation, building and infrastructure construction and climate change are among the biggest threats to plant life.