World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
The World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. Recognising that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era, UNEP is asking countries, companies and communities to focus on greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them. The World Environment Day will highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption.
The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2008 will be held in New Zealand. UNEP is honoured that the city of Wellington will be hosting this United Nations day (read the press release).
The day’s agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
When did it all begin?
World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.
How can you celebrate World Environment Day?
The World Environment Day Alphabet – 80 Ways to Celebrate
World Environment Day can be celebrated in many ways, including street rallies, bicycles parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more. In many countries, this annual event is used to enhance political attention and action.
Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to care for the Earth. Serious pledges are made which lead to the establishment of permanent governmental structures dealing with environmental management and economic planning. This observance also provides an opportunity to sign or ratify international environmental conventions.
On this World Environment Day, let us examine the state of our environment. Let us consider carefully the actions which each of us must take, and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving all life on earth in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence.
World Environment Day 2007 Tromsø, Norway
World Environment Day 2006 Algiers, Algeria
World Environment Day 2005 San Francisco, USA
World Environment Day 2004 Barcelona, Spain
World Environment Day 2003 Beirut, Lebanon
World Environment Day 2002 Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China
World Environment Day 2001 Torino, Italy and Havana, Cuba
World Environment day 2000 Adelaide, Australia
THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY ALPHABET
80 Ways to Celebrate
Adopt a ‘green’ way of life
Art made of recycled materials
Auctions to benefit an environmental project
Award presentations for environmental competitions
Broadcast of public service announcements (TV and Radio)
Buy a fuel-efficient car
Calculate your carbon footprint
Competitions (banner, drawing, essay, painting, poster, poetry)
Conferences on the environment
Debates on environment issues
Dedicate your blog to World Environment Day on 5 June
Distribute leaflets, brochures and posters
Donate to an environmental cause
Environmental education programmes in schools
Excursions to nature sites
Exhibitions (drawings, posters, photos, paintings)
Film festivals on the environment
Give a gift membership of an environmental organisation
Guidelines to community-based environmental activities
Hoist banners at major road intersections
Help local environmental groups organise WED events
Inform all your friends about WED
Involve various partners (NGOs, ministries, youth groups, celebrities, private sector)
Issue First Day Covers (stamps)
Join an environmental group
Join UNEP’s carbon neutral network
Join the Billion Tree Campaign
Keep your neighbourhood clean
Kick-start an environmental campaign
Kick the CO2 habit!
Know your rights
Launch of government environment policies, books, reports
Lobby local authorities to adopt sound environmental policies
March for the environment
Media coverage and activities
Offset your emissions
Organize a WED themed event in your neighbourhood
Performances (plays, songs, poetry)
Plant a tree
Plastic bags: avoid them!
Promotional material (t-shirts, stickers, bookmarks)
Puppet shows for children with an environmental message
Quizzes related to the theme for schools, youth groups, company staff, etc…
Ratify international environmental conventions
Reduce, re-use, recycle
Rehabilitate natural habitats
Replace your light-bulbs with energy saving ones
Sponsorship from private sector
Switch off stand-by TV and computer
T-shirts for WED
Use sustainable modes of transportation (walking, jogging, cycling, skating, carpool)
Vehicle emission monitoring
Visits to botanical gardens and national parks
Volunteer for organizations such as Clean Up the World
Write plays, poems, songs
Write letters to civic leaders, members of parliament, government and newspapers
Xpect environmental responsibility