World Environment Day – WED – 5 June
World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. WED activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere. WED celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action. Through WED, the UN Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. WED is also a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations.
Everyone counts in this initiative and WED relies on us to make this happen! This year, WED supports the UN’s International Year of Forests with the theme, Forests: Nature at Your Service, which underscores the many essential life-sustaining values that forests provide and the intrinsic link between our quality of life and the health of forest ecosystems. For all seven billion of us, our present and our future depend on conserving and restoring the world’s forests. On WED, let us resolve to do much more to ensure that we continue to enjoy the important services that forests provide, in our generation and the next.
WED isn’t your only excuse to go green this month; there is also WOD on the 8th. WOD or World Oceans Day celebrates that big blue that covers the majority of the Earth’s surface and supplies us with copious amounts of breathable air, food and fun. Mark the occasion by “wearing blue and telling two”. This year The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network (the coordinators of WOD) are asking you to celebrate and increase awareness of this special day by wearing blue – just don’t forget to tell those around you why blue is the new green. As for the “telling two” part, share two facts about the ocean and/or why it’s important to the everyday person.
WED thematic celebrations have in the past included caring for the earth and water, the ozone layer, climate change, desertification and sustainable development, to mention a few. WED is celebrated around the world in many ways, including street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more. When we see or experience the negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation, it is easy to blame others – governments for not prioritizing environmental policy; corporate organizations for raising greenhouse gas emissions; NGOs for not lobbying strongly enough for the environment; and individuals for not taking action. World Environment Day however is a day we put aside our differences and instead celebrate the achievements we’ve made towards protecting the environment. By celebrating WED, we remind ourselves and others of the importance of caring for our environment. Linking WED to forests however should not limit or stop you from celebrating your other environmental achievements. After all, every positive environmental action has an impact, and part of the fun is finding creative ways to link your activity to forests – and there are many.