World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise global awareness on the need for positive environmental action for the protection of Mother Nature and Planet Earth . It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, on the opening day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment . WED is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. The 2015 Theme for World Environment Day is ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production’, and the Slogan (for the Theme) is ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’. The Host Country is Italy. The 2014 Theme was ‘Small Islands and Climate Change’, with a Slogan, ‘Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level, and the Host Country was Pakistan (Lahore). The 2016 theme has been decided as ‘Our Earth. Our Care’ and the Host Country would be Saudi Arabia). WED 2014 received a total of 6,437 pledges and over 3,000 activities were registered online – which, combined, were triple of the previous two years.
What you should do on WED
- Visit the World Environment Day website http://www.unep.org/wed/
- Take the WED Challenge, at http://www.unep.org/WED/wedchallenge/
- Read about ‘Tree-a-Day’ and ‘Forest Facts’
What you should do from today
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 list how you intend to curb the unsustainable activities and habits and replace them with sustainable ones. Set yourself a timeline to meet this challenge.
Start reading the labels of origin and manufacture of the goods that you consume
Are they certified as sustainable (for example, all forest products with the FSC logo are logged using sustainable forestry practices), are they organic (for example, organic cotton clothing causes much less environmental damage than that made from ‘conventional’ cotton), are they sustainably obtained (like fish), are they locally made (meaning less travel miles), and are they Fair Trade (that is, ‘ethically’ produced). There are lots of things that a label can tell you. Also, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, email or post a message on Facebook to the company, retailer or manufacturer responsible. Facebook is a great method, because lots of other people will check out your question and be waiting for the answer! Be aware that some labels and practices compete with others. You need to make an informed choice. For example, Fair Trade retailers know that they face a real challenge when shipping some products to remote destinations, but they do their best to ensure that the supply chain is fair, ethical and as ecologically considerate as possible - and they continue to rework their approaches based on new technologies and possibilities. Don’t just criticise; get involved and help those trying to make the change.
Take public transport more often
Make this choice today. If you already do so, get your bike out for the weekend…or walk. Better still, spend time gently persuading a car lover of the benefits (and fun!) of catching the bus once in a while.
Get involved in a conservation , restoration or local eco-community project
Today is a great day to sign up and get involved with people who are Doing - rather than just talking or reading.
Make the most of your garden
Compost your scraps, and then use the compost to boost the garden’s production. Make a part of your garden ‘edible’, by planting seasonal food crops. Even those that have merely a balcony or a tiny plot can grow food - such as a potato in a bag or a small sprout garden on your windowsill. You can also join a community gardening project Grow herbs and spices : these add flavour to your food, look beautiful in the garden and also have medicinal, beauty, healing, spiritual and other usages. Borrow a book from the library to learn more about the use of herbs and spices. Encourage beneficial and friendly wildlife into your garden, through careful planting and the creation of shelters. Learn to make your own garden sprays (pesticides), using items that are toxic to bugs and mildew - but of course not to people and pets!
Make Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle a habit
All that clutter has to go somewhere. If you can’t refuse it to start with, at least reduce, reuse or recycle it. Make good choices about where your clutter’s going to end up. Think about borrowing , sharing, donating, time-sharing etc., instead of buying for keeps. Or pass it on after you’ve read, used, watched, worn and enjoyed it.
Holding your own WED event
Organise a local WED event by enthusing your neighbourhood folk, friends, local community, schools, businesses, and the media, to get involved too. Some ideas for an event are:
- An Arts and Crafts exhibition with a WED theme/focus
- A film festival focused on eco-issues
- Ceremonies: like awarding those local members of the community who have done something worthwhile for the environmental or who have inspired many to take positive environmental actions – you could even invite celebrities for the award-giving
- Competitions : eco-themed, like painting competitions, or even online ‘eco-poetry’
- Concerts: a cool way to get lots of people together in the spirit of WED
- Environmental education and awareness raising; Information kits
- Demonstration activities
- Flash mobs
- Online and Social Media activities
- Sports activities
Sustainable Consumption and Production
Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care The well being of humanity and the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. And yet, evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide. Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic ‘development’. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same, and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption. Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries, to ensure a healthy future wherein our dreams can be realised. Human ‘prosperity’ need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less; it is about knowing that indiscriminate exploitation and usage of natural resources, and the resulting environmental impact, is not a necessary byproduct of economic growth.