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North America shines green to promote plant health

The United States, Canada, and Mexico recently dazzled North Americans with a green light celebration of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), writes Greg Rosenthal in this USDA/APHIS news release. In April, the countries partnered to illuminate Niagara Falls in green. At the same time, they lit up iconic national buildings and monuments. These illuminations brought attention to the importance of plants to life on Earth and the need to protect plant health. 

All three countries collaborate through the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) to safeguard plant health in their region. NAPPO is one of 10 regional plant protection organizations recognized by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which the United Nations’ (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization oversees.

“These illuminations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States demonstrate a powerful solidarity in plant protection that stretches across North America,” said Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program. “This event raised public awareness about the need to protect our vulnerable plant resources against damaging invasive pests. These pests can devastate crops, throw ecosystems out of balance, and jeopardize the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. This event was all the more meaningful because it took place in April, which is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month in the United States.”

The U.N. declared 2020 IYPH and extended the celebration through July 1, 2021. The declaration sent a powerful message to the world: Plants are life. They make the oxygen we breathe and produce 80 percent of the food we eat. Plants clothe and shelter us and sustain our livestock and poultry. They also provide habitat for wildlife, form the base of nature’s food chains, and help biodiversity flourish. IYPH is a worldwide campaign to promote the value of our vital plant resources and highlight the need to safeguard them against destructive, invasive pests.

The following North American landmarks glowed in green for IYPH, showing unity for plant protection across the continent:

  • Niagara Falls (on both the U.S. and Canadian sides)
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
  • Government buildings in Mexico City
  • Mexico Independence Monument
  • Monument to Cuauhtémoc, last Aztec Emperor
  • Mexico’s Monument to the Revolution
  • Monument to Mexico’s Oil Industry

Source: USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Original release here
Cover photo: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) illuminated its headquarters, the Jamie L. Whitten building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. USDA | K. Cecilia Sequeira.

The North American Plant Protection Organization arranged for the green illumination of Niagara Falls to celebrate
the International Year of Plant Health. USDA photo by Margaret Pelczynski.
The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, illuminated its atrium in green. Courtesy of Greg Kolz.
The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, illuminated its atrium in green.
Courtesy of Greg Kolz.
Mexico lit up several government buildings and monuments in green, including the country’s Independence Monument in Mexico City. Photo courtesy of SENASICA.
Mexico lit up several government buildings and monuments in green, including the country’s
Independence Monument in Mexico City. Photo courtesy of SENASICA.

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