World Environment Day

World Environment Day is a yearly event held to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action. Known as WED for short, it is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is really a climax of environmental activities being undertaken all year round by UNEP and other organizations and individuals around the world. Being a part of the celebrations gives you an opportunity to share your ideas and activities for making our world cleaner, greener, and brighter.

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 on the day that United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began.

Media and celebrities have encouraged World Environment Day Celebrations by endorsing and participating in them. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) goodwill ambassadors are sending an SOS to the world to take action for World Environment Day 2016 by joining one of their teams to combat climate change. Their call to action, Message in the Bottle, asks individuals around the world to join one of the teams and make a difference by pledging to take action in support of World Environment Day, which culminates globally on 5 June 2016.

The day’s agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is a people’s event with colorful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns. Eco Action Day is celebrated since 2007 in Singapore to inspire individuals to reduce energy use at the workplace.

The whole idea of having a separate day for the Environment is to draw attention to the pressures being faced everywhere. The current world population is estimated at over 7 billion people, and naturally, therefore, the pressure of this massive population on the environment is immense. WED helps people to understand their own place in the scheme of things, and activities around this day should use this as a simple theme of showing how each of us CAN make a difference: IF WE DECIDE TO. Here are a few things we can do to show this:

  • This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages you to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level – many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.
  • Consider holding your own WED event. If you don’t mind a little planning and effort, why not hold your own event for WED? You could start with your friends, your local community, your school, a group of businesses, or the media to become involved too. Some ideas for your own event include:
    • Exhibitions with a WED theme/focus
    • Awards to local members of the community who have done great environmental acts or who have inspired many to take positive environmental actions
    • You could make lots of different eco-themed competitions, from painting competitions to online eco-poetry.
    • Environmental education and awareness-raising
    • Online and social media activities
    • Build Information Kits and distribute them to your local community or your office
    • Sports activities
    • Online games
  • Make today that you choose to adopt an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Do an inventory of your energy usage, your consuming habits, and your reliance on unsustainable products, and make a list of ways you intend to curb your unsustainable activities and habits and replace them with sustainable ones. Start by unplugging devices you don’t plan on using for an hour or two.
  • Take public transportation today. Make a choice to take it more often than you do already. On the other hand, if you already take it often, get your bike out for the weekend, or walk. Or, spend time gently persuading a car-lover of the benefits of catching the bus now and then. Encourage others to do so.
  • Plant a tree: then promise yourself that you will take care of it. Or, if you want to make it a fun activity, plant a tree in the garden of the office, and make it a sort of official mascot.
  • Choose today to slip into the refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle habit and make it a part of your daily life. All that clutter has to go somewhere, so make a choice not to bring it into the house, to begin with, and if it has to leave, make good choices about where it’s going to end up!

Following on from the theme for this year, I remember that Animal Planet had a great blurb about this: “When the buying stops, the killing will stop too!” This is unfortunately all too true; it is only the reckless demand for contraband wildlife products that are fueling the wildlife trade. This is now a multi-billion dollar business across the world. Because of the massive prices, people are willing to take the risks to meet the demand. But if we can take that first step: STOP BUYING; then perhaps we can hope.

Do your bit for the wildlife on this coming World Environment Day: Say NO to wildlife items and wildlife-related products!

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