We are facing the worst environmental crisis in decades with major challenges such as plastic pollution, global warming, food and water insecurity and ecosystem destruction.
Everyone is connected to the natural environment, from the air we breathe, the food we consume and lifestyles we lead. It is significant that we conserve the environment that surrounds us to prevent the decline of human welfare.
What is it?
World Environment Day brings awareness to problems which harm the environment and encourages environmental conservation and protection. World Environment Day not only targets developed countries but also welcomes less developed countries and small countries to work on the crucial topics which affect the environment. This includes global warming and marine pollution in addition to sustainable living. The day brings together a variety of people including governments, organisations, businesses, citizens and celebrities to promote sustainable and equitable development.
World Environment Day was designated in 1974 as the 5th of June, with the day being hosted by a different country each year and with a different theme. The first day took place in Spokane, USA with the theme ‘Only one earth’. The day has been hosted by 34 cities since it began, with certain countries even hosting the event twice such as Canada and China. In recent years, themes have included ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’ hosted in Rome, Italy in 2015 and ‘Beat plastic pollution’ hosted in New Delhi, India in 2018.
This year, World Environment Day will be hosted by Pakistan with the theme ‘Generation Restoration’. It will focus on ecosystem restoration. The destruction of half of our wetlands over the past decade as well as removing a football field pitch of forests every three seconds means that action needs to be undertaken. It will commence the United Nation’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and will assist with the global goal of reviving billion of hectares of ecosystems including forests, farmlands and wetlands.
Why is it important?
There is an urgent need to conserve the environment we significantly rely on, with multiple complex challenges confronting us. The day encourages action from major governments by providing a global platform to motivate big changes. It allows everyone to get involved, by promoting individuals to think about their consumption and how they can make their lifestyle more sustainable in addition to promoting more government policies.
In terms of this year’s theme, ecosystems are important to the GDP of a country as well as food productivity and climate change. By reviving ecosystems, livelihoods will improve, in addition to biodiversity and climate change.
What can we do?
You can get involved in a variety of different ways. An easy way to get involved is by using social media to spread the word and using hashtags such as #GenerationRestoration and #WorldEnvironmentDay2021. You can participate in online discussions or post photos of your own small projects you are undertaking.
Another simple way to join the movement is by informing yourself of your local environment and the drivers of degradation. To get involved, you could join the Plastic Champions Network and pick litter in your spare time. This is a good way to improve your local environment as well as meeting new people and getting outside.
You could also get involved with your local area through taking part in public consultations and debates about the development in your area. In towns and cities, it is crucial to improve green spaces and urban planning and therefore, local communities’ voices need to be heard. It is also important to vote in local elections for political parties which support the restoration of the environment.
You could educate yourself through online events which are being held by the United Nations in the lead up to the 5th of June. Events includes conferences on sustainable land management and restoring corals. With various speakers and so many topics, there is something for everyone!
Furthermore, you could look at ways to make you lifestyle more sustainable by reducing plastic consumption, conserving water, walking instead of driving and planting trees or small plants. Composting is a good way to combat food wastage and promotes fertile soils. Anything can be viewed as an ecosystem, even something as simple as a balcony, roadside or garden!
Lastly, you could donate to organisations and projects which are undertaking ecosystem restoration and improving livelihoods for local communities. The Terramatch platform connects restoration projects with funders.
Tags:environment, nature, sustainability, sustainable travel, United Nations