Earth! The only known planet, so far, which has an environment that supports life. The geo and bio-cycles on Earth’s environment are just right for the live organisms to live and thrive. World Environment Day was specifically thought out to highlight the importance of this fact to humanity. There’s no other place for us if this environment is destroyed.
To drive home this crucial aspect, every year on June 5th, World Environment Day is observed to promote environmental awareness and 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.”
On the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the United Nations General Assembly declared World Environment Day. The first World Environment Day (WED) was observed two years later, in 1974. Despite the fact that the annual Environment Day celebrations have been held since 1974, the idea of rotating the center of these activities by selecting various host countries emerged in 1987.
World Environment Day was established at a period when people were becoming increasingly concerned about humanity’s impact on the environment. A series of environmental calamities in the 1960s elevated awareness of the environment’s fragility, from drought and mining, collapses to pollution and widespread fish poisoning. The iconic ‘Earthrise’ 1972 photo of the Earth taken by the Apollo 8 mission — the first color photo of our globe from space – emphasized its fragility.
The topic for this year’s World Environment Day is Only One Earth, which emphasizes the need to live sustainably in balance with nature. It’s a homage to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 and a reminder that the world’s resources are finite and diminishing.
Themes from previous World Environment Days provide a snapshot of environmental problems the world faces at the moment. The event, for example, focused on ozone layer depletion in 1977 and acid rain in 1983. While some of these threats have been mitigated, others continue to exist. In 1989, World Environment Day brought attention to climate change.
Hundreds of activities and actions are set to take place around the world this year, ranging from an electric vehicle rally in Cairo to a big cyclathon in Mumbai to an e-waste drive in Bucharest.
Experts agree that immediate, revolutionary action is essential to reverse the natural world’s decline. To help with this, UNEP has created the #OnlyOneEarth Practical Guide, a compass that outlines critical environmental measures that governments, cities, corporations, community groups, and individuals can take to make a significant difference.