Today is World Environment Day

#World #EnvironmentDay is held each year on June 5. It is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations (UN) stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment 

Every year, World Environment Day is observed on June 5. This day is celebrated to encourage awareness and environmental protection. According to United Nations, “The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.”

 World Environment Day Theme

In 2020, the theme is #biodiversity – a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa–and now, coronavirus pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist.

When was World Environment first celebrated?

The day was first observed in 1974 in the city of Spokane in the USA.

History of World Environment Day

In 1972, the #UnitedNations General Assembly established the World Environment Day on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Two years later, in 1974 the first WED was held with the theme “Only One Earth”. Even though Environment Day celebration have been held annually since 1974, in 1987 the idea for rotating the center of these activities through selecting different host countries began.

Host of World Environment Day 2020

Every World Environment Day is hosted by a different country, in which official celebrations take place. This year’s host is Colombia in partnership with Germany.

How is World Environment Day celebrated?

The day is celebrated by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

Timeline of World Environment Day from 2010 to now

‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future’, was the theme of 2010. Hosted in Rwanda, it celebrated the diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. The world environment day of 2011 was hosted by India and the theme was Forests—Nature At Your Service. World Environment Day 2012’s theme was Green Economy. The celebrations were held in Brazil. WED 2013 was themed on the footprint of food, under the slogan “Think, Eat, Save”. The UN reminded us that one third of all food produced fails to make it from farm to table, which means 1.3 billion tonnes of food, worth 1,000 billion dollars, are wasted. This amount would be enough to feed the 870 million people suffering from hunger around the world, as well as reduce CO2 emissions significantly. 2014 was dedicated to the sea, under the theme “Raise your Voice not the Sea Level!” in order to raise awareness on the problems island nations are facing due to rising sea levels. In 2015, WED was hosted by Milan, Italy, under the theme “Seven Billion People. One Planet. Consume with Care”. That year, WED was the most popular subject on Twitter in more than 20 countries. “Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife” was the theme of the 2016 edition, hosted by Angola, whilst the 2017 edition, was held under the slogan “Connecting People with Nature” to highlight the crucial role we play in protecting the planet, to which we are closely linked and depend on, with official celebrations taking place in Canada. Whilst the 2018 edition, hosted by India, aimed to “Beat Plastic Pollution”. In 2019, WED focussed its efforts to “Beat Air Pollution”, an issue chosen by China, a country deeply affected by this environmental problem.

The 2020 Theme

The theme of World Environment 2020 is ‘celebrating #biodiversity’ — a concern that is both urgent and existential. The fact is that the current environmental crisis is a warning that we must heed collectively. We must now fundamentally rethink our relationship with the living world, with natural ecosystems and their biodiversity.

“With one million species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.” The day will be hosted in Colombia in partnership with Germany.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity underpins life on Earth, and refers to the variety found in biota from genetic make up of plants an animals to cultural diversity.

Importance of biodiversity

People depend on biodiversity in their daily lives, in ways that are not always apparent or appreciated. Human health ultimately depends upon ecosystem products and services (such as availability of fresh water, food and fuel sources) which are requisite for good human health and productive livelihoods. Biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impacts if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs. Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, income, local migration and, on occasion, may even cause political conflict. Additionally, biophysical diversity of microorganisms, flora and fauna provides extensive knowledge which carry important benefits for biological, health, and pharmacological sciences. Significant medical and pharmacological discoveries are made through greater understanding of the earth’s biodiversity. Loss in biodiversity may limit discovery of potential treatments for many diseases and health problems.

Published June 5.2020

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