What is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day is held annually 5 June since 1973. Conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Environment Day is the world’s largest platform for raising public awareness about the environment and is celebrated by millions of people around the world.
Last year (2021) it was organised by Pakistan, and the theme was ecosystem restoration. And this year (2022), Sweden is hosting it!
The evolution of nature in recent years
Half of the world’s GDP depends on nature and every dollar invested in restoration creates up to $30 in economic benefits.
Every year the world loses 10 million hectares of forest – an area equivalent to the Republic of Korea or twice the size of Costa Rica.
Soil erosion and other forms of degradation cost the world more than $6 trillion a year in lost food production and other ecosystem services.
About 30% of natural freshwater ecosystems have been lost since 1970.
One third of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, up from 10% in 1974.
About $10 trillion of global GDP could be lost by 2050 if ecosystem services continue to decline.
Why is it important to participate in World Environment Day?
Time is running out and nature is in a state of emergency. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, we need to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
If we don’t act, within this decade exposure to air pollution exceeding safety standards will increase by 50%, plastic waste dumping will triple by about 2040 and aquatic ecosystems will triple.
We must act urgently to address these pressing issues, making the #OneEarth movement and its goal of living sustainably in harmony with nature more important than ever.
The UN’s call to combat global warming
The main areas of transformation are how we build and live in our homes, cities, and places of work and worship, how and where we invest our money and what we do for entertainment.
But there are others that are also important: energy, production systems, global trade and transport systems, and biodiversity conservation.
Many of these options can only be created by larger entities: national and local governments, financial institutions, businesses, international organisations and others with the power to rewrite the rules, define our ambitions and open up new horizons.
In all cases, individuals and civil society are key advocates, defenders and supporters. The more we raise our voices, highlight what needs to be done and empower people, the faster change will happen.
Visit the official UN World Environment Day website and participate in an event near you!