World Environment Day also known as WED, Eco Day, Environment Day is celebrated each year on 5th of June globally. The concept of WED officially known as UN World Environment Day was adopted in 1972. The first WED was observed in 1974 and it has been 42 years since then, the show goes on each year without fail under UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme. Around 143 countries participate in the same annually and thousands of communities celebrate it worldwide.
It aims to celebrate nature and raise concerns and awareness globally regarding emerging environmental issues including the political attention. It calls for the involvement of people to take care of nature and Mother Earth and for change and help them realize and appreciate the nature. People are encouraged to Go Green. Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment quoted, “World Environment Day is the day the planet celebrates our collective love of and reliance on nature”.
WED is celebrated each year with a unique theme and hosted by a particular country for that year. This year WED, 05th June, 2017 is being hosted by Canada with the theme of ‘Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator’ which aims at allowing people to explore nature, go outdoors near to nature and wonder and appreciate its vitality and understand the dependence of living creatures on the same and how they are part of it.
People can contribute towards the same by spreading awareness, planting trees, participating in mass-cleaning campaigns, organizing rallies, parades, competitions, online quizzes, essay, slogan writing, logo designing, poster making contests, etc. Other activities include concerts, seminars, conferences, vehicle free day, sports events, Green Film festival, music and dance performances and there are various other options to mark this WED. Canada has opened doors to its national parks and marine conservation areas free of cost to let people discover wilderness around and feel connected.
But what does environment really mean to people and how does environment affects the living creatures. “The sum total of all surroundings of a living organism, including natural forces and other living things, which provide conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage” – this is one of the definition of environment that is being taught since childhood to children but they haven’t realized the real meaning behind the same even when they have grown up. For some it is the symbol of peace, for some it is the source of food, but for some it is a means of greed and exploitation. When anything in the nature is affected, the whole cycle is disturbed and there it becomes a subject of problem but even that remains unnoticed until a big damage has occurred. But why would they care about the same until they are not affected and that too directly in a sense they can realize and feel the issues that have erupted out of it. The choky lungs, the irritated eyes during the hazardous air pollution of Delhi few months ago made people realize what’s going on in the environment around them but once the major effects are gone no one is there to question the level of pollution in the city, the same happens every time in this world. Most of them don’t care until and unless they are the once affected and till then used to exploit the nature.
It’s time for the major environmental challenges and with this there is a dire need of environmental leadership more than ever. India was the host country for WED in 2011 with the theme of “Forests: Nature at your Service” which included thousands of activities organized worldwide. WED 2013 anthem which is regarded as one of the best anthem was penned by Indian poet-diplomat Abhay Kumar and it is available in eight languages – Hindi, Nepali and all the six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).
Remember the time when people used to live in villages surrounded by farms, etc. and feel so close, connected and attached to nature as a part of their family itself. This World Environment Day let’s leave our smartphones and gadgets behind and feel closer to nature. On this WED day UN seeks the global call to protect the Earth we share, cherish the nature and maintain harmony between humanity and nature.
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