World Environment Day (WED) also known as Eco Day or Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June. WED aims to raise awareness about environmental issues and create a movement to tackle these issues precisely and urgently. Essentially, WED is a global platform for public outreach with over 143 countries as participants. Each year, the UN provides a theme and forum for businesses, non-governmental organizations, communities, governments and celebrities to advocate environmental causes. This year Sweden is hosting the event.
When talking about environmental issues, we are concerned about things like:
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Soil and land pollution
- Climate Change
- Global warming
- Deforestation and logging
- Carbon footprint increasing
- Loss of biodiversity
This is only the tip of the iceberg as we are facing many more serious problems all around the globe. Hence, the goal of WED is to take care of the only earth we have got. Like the UN quoted, “In the universe are billions of galaxies, in our galaxy are billions of plants, but there is #OnlyOneEarth. Let’s take care of it.”
WED was first established in 1972 by the UN General Assembly and designated 5 June as World Environment Day. This idea came from Sweden as they were the first one to suggest a conference focused on environmental issues. Coincidently, the slogan they used in 1972 “Only One Earth”, is making its way back in 2022. Fifty years have gone by and It only goes to show that this is a critical issue that hasn’t been solved, reminding everyone that we only have one home. We cannot survive without Earth, but Earth can surely survive without humans.
We are nearing a state of no return, therefore WED helps drive change in consumption patterns and in national and international environmental policy. Together we can make the difference, so let’s start now!
Why take part?
The state of our earth is crippling and we are running out of time before we completely run out of natural resources from mother earth. With soaring temperatures around the globe, nature is going into emergency mode. Our goal is to keep global warming below 1.5°C, but this is only possible if we halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. If we continue to live by our current lifestyle, you can expect climate change to take over. Imagine a world where fresh air isn’t so common or how our aquatic ecosystems will be covered with plastic waste to the point where you no longer can see the water. Without action, this can really be our reality.
Urgent action is not a recommendation, it is an obligation if you want to live on the only earth we have got. There is no better time than now to focus our energy on living sustainably in harmony with nature.
Sustainable living should be made accessible everywhere
The reason why we have the same dilemma as we did many years ago is because sustainability is not always available, affordable or attractive for people to make better daily decisions. Without a doubt, there have been some breakthroughs with innovation and countries setting benchmarks for others to be inspired about. For example, Costa Rica’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy such as solar, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric. Or the Netherlands, they have rebuilt infrastructure to encourage cycling by making safe cycling paths all over the country. Now, the Netherlands have more bicycles than people.
The key ingredient to success is to transform the way we build and live in our homes, cities and places of work, how and where we invest our money, and what we can do for fun. Other substantial factors also include: energy, production systems, global trade and transport systems, and protection of biodiversity.As an individual you might feel powerless or overwhelmed at the thought of making changes that will really make a big difference. Especially when it’s the powerful entities like national and sub-national governments, financial institutions, businesses, international organizations, etc that largely contribute to the existing problems we have today. However, don’t forget that we as individuals possess strong voices that can advocate for pivotal changes. We can coerce these powerful entities to rewrite the rules and activate the sustainable transformation that we need.
By supporting World Environment Day 2022 and the #OnlyOneEarth campaign, you can help ensure that this beautiful planet remains a comfortable home for future generations to come.
This is what YOU can do
- Advocate for change
- Spread knowledge
- Conserve energy
- Use all your foods
- Ditch fast fashion
- Avoid flying
- Don’t invest in companies that are not socially or environmentally considerate
There’s so much that can be done. If you want to inform yourself and start acting sustainably, follow this clever handbook for more information.
Did you know?
- The way in which we operate currently is the equivalent to using 1.6 Earths, our ecosystems cannot compete with our demands.
- Studies demonstrate that a sustainable lifestyle and behaviors can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050.
- Sustainable consumption and production can drive economic development, mitigate climate change, positively impact health and pollution and help alleviate poverty – as a result this may increase incomes by an average of 11% in low and medium-income countries by 2060, and 4% in high-income countries.
- Say no to bags when you go shopping! A plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes but will remain in the environment for 1,000 years before it decomposes.
- Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.
- Agriculture uses up 70% of our global freshwater.
- Recycling 1 aluminum can save enough energy to run our TVs for at least 3 hours.
- An estimated 50,000 species inhabiting our tropical forests become extinct annually. That’s an average of 137 species a day.
Key dates around World Environment Day 2022
- 2 – 3 June: Stockholm+50 high-level meeting, Stockholm, Sweden
- 5 June: World Environment Day 2022
- 8 June: World Oceans Day 2022
- 6 – 17 June: COP Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Geneva, Switzerland
- 9 August: International Day of Indigenous People
- 12 August: International Youth Day
- 29 August – 13 September: UN Biodiversity Conference, Kunming, China
- 13 – 27 September 2022: 77th Session of the UN General Assembly
- 7 – 18 November 2022: UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27), Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
- 10 December: Human Rights Day
Are you in Geneva, Switzerland? Find out how you can celebrate WED here.