Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated on June 5 each year, with governments, businesses, and citizens participating in more than 100 countries to address impending environmental issues. People worldwide celebrate World Environment Day (WED) in many different ways; Planting trees, cleaning the beach, organizing meetings, participating in online protests, and many more. Each year, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) selects a specific issue to focus on. For a year, it might be forest; Another year, it could be wildlife. There is a new host every year, a central city of all celebrations.
image: by mrsiraphol
History of World Environment Day
The United Nations (UN) named June 5 as International World Environment Day at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The idea here was to focus on the many problems facing our environment. They wanted to include as many people, organizations, and governments as possible, both locally and nationally. They wanted to show that positive change can happen when people work together to fight for a common goal.
The first World Environment Day event was celebrated in 1974 in Spokane, USA. The motto for that first year was ‘Only One Earth,’ which was celebrated with the world’s first exhibition dedicated to the environment. The exhibition lasted six months.
Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated in 34 different cities in 25 countries, from Cuba to South Korea and from Belgium to Brazil.
In some countries such as Bangladesh, Canada, and China, there were several main celebrations. However, this does not mean that all celebrations take place in the host country. Every year, people from all over the world attend various events to focus on Key issue
Themes and Hosted Cities
|2000||The Environment Millennium: Time to Act||Adelaide, Australia|
|2001||Connect with the World Wide Web of Life.||Torino, Italy Havana, Cuba|
|2002||Give Earth a Chance||Shenzhen, China|
|2003||Water: Two Billion People are dying for it !||Beirut, Lebanon|
|2004||Wanted! Seas and Oceans: Dead or Alive ?||Barcelona, Spain|
|2005||Green Cities||San Francisco, United States|
|2006||Desserts and Desertification: Do not desert drylands||Algiers, Algeria|
|2007||Melting Ice: a Hot Topic ?||London, England|
|2008||Kick the Habit : Toward a low carbon economy.||Wellington, New Zealand|
|2009||Your Planet Needs You: Unite to combat climate change||Mexico City, Mexico|
|2010||Many Species: One Planet, One Future||Rwanda|
|2011||Forests: Nature at your Service||Delhi, India|
|2012||Green Economy: Does it include you ?||Brasilia, Brazil|
|2013||Think Eat Save: Reduce your Foodprint||Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia|
|2014||Raise your voice, not the sea level||Bridgetown, Barbados|
|2015||Seven billion dreams: One planet consume with care||Rome, Italy|
|2016||Zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade||Luanda, Angola|
|2017||Connecting peoples to nature||Ottawa, Canada|
|2018||Beat Plastic Pollution||New Delhi, India|
|2019||Beat Air Polution||China|
|2020||Time for Nature||Colombia|
Major Initiatives and Achievements of World Environment Day
“Green Cities: Plant for the Planet” was the theme of World Environment Day. From June 1 to June 5, San Francisco has been hosted World Environment Day 2005. This was the first celebration of this 33-year international event in North America.
The WED theme for 2006 was Deserts and Desertification, and the slogan was Don’t Desert Drylands. The slogan emphasizes the importance of protecting the dry land that covers more than 40% of the earth’s surface.
The theme for World Environment Day was “Melting Ice,” and the slogan was “a Hot Topic?”. On June 5, 2007, the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, DC, and the National Geographic Society held a conference to celebrate World Environment Day. The conference, co-sponsored by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), discussed political and technical solutions to warming.
The theme for WED was “Kick the Habit,” and the slogan was “Towards a Low Carbon Economy.” World Environment Day 2008 was organized in New Zealand, and the main international celebration was held in Wellington. Resources and initiatives that promote low-carbon economies and lifestyles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservations, and environmentally friendly consumptions, were highlighted.
The theme was “Your Planet Needs You,” and the slogan was “Unite to Combat Climate Change.” Mexico hosted the 2009 World Environment Day Celebrations. This theme reflects the urgent global need for countries to agree to the New Deal at a major climate change conference in Copenhagen. It also emphasizes the link between poverty reduction and better forest management.
On June 6, 2010, World Environment Day was celebrated with the theme “Many species”. One planet. One future. It was hosted in Rwanda. The celebration includes:
- The launch of “Greening the Blue” to encourage UN agencies to become climate neutral.
- Solar energy activities in Rwanda.
- A website to inform young people about the environment.
World Environment Day 2011 was organized by India. It was the first time that India hosted the day. The 2011 theme was “Forest,” and the slogan was “Nature at Your Service”. Forests cover about 1/3 of the earth’s land area, and more than a billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. Trees in forests play a significant role in climate change. They are essential for absorbing and storing carbon dioxide and at the same time releasing oxygen into the air. These are just a couple of the ways forests are “Nature at your service.” Thousands of activities have been organized worldwide, including beach cleaning, concerts, exhibitions, film festivals, local events, and tree planting.
World Environment Day 2012 was celebrated with the theme “Green Economy” and the slogan “Does it include you?” Brazil hosted it. World Environment Day 2012 has marked the 40th anniversary of the day. Green economics is an economics methodology that aims to support the harmonious interaction between humans and nature and at the same time meet the needs of both. The green economic theory contains a wide range of ideas dealing with the interrelationship between people and the environment.
The theme was “Think Eat Save,” and the slogan was “Reduce Your Foodprint.” Think Eat Save was a food waste and food loss prevention campaign that encourages the reduction of food impressions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year. This corresponds to the same amount produced throughout sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, one in seven people in the world goes to bed hungry, and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die of hunger every day.
The theme was “International Year of Small Islands Developing States,” and the slogan was “Raise your voices, not the sea levels. “Bridgetown, Barbados, hosted it. They focused on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and specific vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has renewed its call for a new approach to environmental protection, recognizing the complex and profound link between environmental protection and human development.
The theme for world environment day 2015 was “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”. Italy has served as the host. The 2015 Global WED Celebration was organized at the World Famous Universal Exhibition, which attracted over 20 million visitors. Expo Milano was held from May 1 to October 31, 2015, and included more than 140 countries and many international organizations.
The theme for world environment day 2016 was “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife trade.” The day was dedicated to the prevention of the illegal wildlife trade.
To turn the tide of the illegal wildlife trade, more people must understand the damage this illicit business is causing to the environment, economies, communities, and security. Habits and behavior need to be changed to decrease the demand for wildlife products. Increased awareness also increases pressure on governments and international bodies to introduce and enforce stricter laws and combat those still willing to break them. World Environment Day 2016 encouraged the celebration of all threatened species and action by everyone to help protect them for future generations. Angola hosted World Environment Day 2016.
Canada was the host country for the 2017 World Environment Day celebration. In 2017, they chose the theme of “Connecting People and Nature” to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and promote the call to protect the earth we share.
To celebrate the day, thousands of people participated in efforts to clean beaches and riverbanks worldwide, including Tijuana, Mexico, where US and Mexican volunteers cleaned the city’s shores at a “show of solidarity.” In India, 500 palm trees were planted along Versova Beach in Mumbai, and color-coded trash cans were installed in 4,000 towns to promote recycling. 4,500 Brazilian runners traverse the Atlantic forests of Iguazu National Park. More than a ton of ivory has been burned in Angola, emphasizing the country’s commitment to wildlife crime.
image: by wirestock
The theme for 2018 was beating plastic pollution. World Environment Day 2018 aimed to bring together governments, industries, communities, and individuals to combat plastic pollution and seek sustainable alternatives. Invading our oceans and marine environment, damaging ecosystems, and threatening human health, we urgently need to reduce the production and excessive use of plastic, especially disposable plastics.
The theme for 2019 was “Air Pollution,” sponsored by China. Air pollution is one of the significant environmental problems that plague the planet. In doing so, the theme encouraged people to think about how they can change their lifestyles for a better, cleaner environment. The main event scheduled for this year was the ‘Mask Challenge.’
With this event, the UN had urged people worldwide to choose an action they would take to reduce air pollution, photograph themselves performing the task and then share the image on social media. Then, tagging other organizations or individuals who want to get involved within the challenge. In addition to this, many other smaller teams and individuals were also undertaking projects to contribute to the cause on the occasion of World Environment Day.
The theme of WED 2020 was “Time for Nature: Celebrate Biodiversity, “which was held in Colombia in collaboration with Germany. The theme focused on the need to conserve resources and reconnect with nature. Biodiversity supports life on earth and refers to the diversity found in biota, from the genetic composition of animals and plants to cultural diversity. If ecosystem services are no longer sufficient to meet social needs, biodiversity loss can significantly impact human health. Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, incomes, migration of the region, and sometimes even political conflicts.
World Environment Day 2021
This year the baton is passed to the South Asian country, Pakistan, as the host of World Environment Day 2021. This year’s theme will be ecosystem restoration, with a special focus on building rapport with nature.
image: by jcomp
This year’s event will also mark the launch of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. In the next ten years, the United Nations, with the support of countries, partners, and individuals, wants to focus on preventing and reversing the loss of degraded natural ecosystems to combat the impacts of climate change.
The end of this decade is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline that scientists identified as important in avoiding the consequences of climate change.
How to celebrate World Environment Day?
Plan a clean-up
Join friends and neighbors for a clean-up in your areas, such as a beach, park, or river.
Going out does not necessarily help nature, but remembering why it is essential to take the time to enjoy it and protect it is a good way to respect the environment. Find a local mountaineering team or coordinate a picnic in the park. If your friends are not as interested in outdoor activities as you are, find outdoor meeting groups in your area and meet new friends who have similar ideas.
If your cell phone or laptop breaks, take it to an e-waste recycling facility instead of putting it around your house or throwing it in the trash.
image: by jcomp
Switch to sustainable products
Consider the products you use at home, such as cleaning products and toothpaste. Switch to something more environmentally friendly, ideally made from natural and biodegradable materials in plastic-free or fully recyclable packaging.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
Whenever possible, select ENERGY STAR-rated equipment. It is an additional cost, but it will significantly reduce your energy bill in the future.
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