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World Environment Day

World Environment Day

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Published by: hasib on Apr 22, 2010
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World Environment Day •
5 June
World Environment Day is the United Nations agship environmentalevent, celebrated every year on 5 June in more than 100 countries aroundthe world. It was established in 1972 by the United Nations GeneralAssembly and its commemoration is entrusted to the United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP), whose international headquarters arelocated in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose o World Environment Day is to ocus worldwide attentionon the importance o the environment and stimulate political attentionand action. The event seeks to give a human ace to environmental issues;empower people to become active agents o sustainable and equitabledevelopment; promote an understanding that communities are pivotalto changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocatepartnership, which will ensure that all nations and peoples enjoy a saerand more prosperous uture.Each year, a dierent city is chosen as the principal venue or the globalcelebration o World Environment Day. The host government and/or city,in cooperation with UNEP, set the tone or the event. A theme, sloganand logo are selected to be the ocus or all World Environment Dayinormation materials and promotional activities worldwide.Interest in World Environment Day is growing each year, as evidencedby the number o countries which lend their support to this importantUnited Nations Day, by the expanding list o municipalities, businessesand communities that participate, and by the hundreds o thousands o individuals who visit UNEP’s World Environment Day web site.Activities planned beore and during World Environment Day are wideranging. Essentially, it is a “people’s event”, with colourul activities suchas street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essay competitions inschools, tree planting, recycling and clean up campaigns.World Environment Day is also meant to be an “intellectual” event,providing opportunities or seminars, workshops and symposiums onpreserving the environmental health o our planet or the benet o generations to come. The media play a critical role, and the event inspiresthousands o journalists around the world to report on the environment. The Day enhances political attention and action. Local and regionalofcials, Heads o State and Government and, o course, Ministers o the Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to careor the Earth. For example, in 1994, President Fidal Ramos called uponFilipinos to pause exactly at noon on 5 June and simultaneously “think clean, think green and with positive and joy-lled energy restore tonature the energy borrowed rom it.More solemn pledges are madewhich lead to the establishment o permanent governmental structuresdealing with environmental management and economic planning.World Environment Day also provides an opportunity to sign or ratiyinternational conventions.
2008 Wellington New Zealand2007 Tromsø Norway2006 Algiers Algeria2005 San Francisco USA2004 Barcelona Spain2003 Beirut Lebanon2002 Shenzhen China2001 Torino/Havana Italy/Cuba2000 Adelaide Australia1999 Tokyo Japan1998 Moscow Russian Federation1997 Seoul Republic o Korea1996 Istanbul Turkey1995 Pretoria South Arica1994 London United Kingdom1993 Beijing China1992 Rio de Janeiro Brazil1991 Stockholm Sweden1990 Mexico City Mexico1989 Brussels Belgium1988 Bangkok Thailand1987 Nairobi Kenya
Cover photo: © Gallo Images/ AFP 
World Environment Day 2008
Message of United NationsSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Kick the Carbon Habit
Addiction is a terrible thing. It consumes andcontrols us, makes us deny important truthsand blinds us to the consequences o ouractions. Our world is in the grip o a dangerouscarbon habit.Coal and oil paved the way or the developedworld’s industrial progress. Fast-developingcountries are now taking the same path insearch o equal living standards. Meanwhile,in the least developed countries, even lesssustainable energy sources, such as charcoal,remain the only available option or the poor.Our dependence on carbon-based energy hascaused a signicant build-up o greenhousegases in the atmosphere. Last year, the NobelPeace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change put the nal nail in thecofn o global warming sceptics. We knowthat climate change is happening, and we knowthat carbon dioxide and other greenhousegases that we emit are the cause.We don’t just burn carbon in the orm o ossiluels. Throughout the tropics, valuable orestsare being elled or timber and making paper,or pasture and arable land and, increasingly,or plantations to supply a growing demandor biouels. This urther maniestation o ourcarbon habit not only releases vast amountso CO
; it also destroys a valuable resourceor absorbing atmospheric carbon, urthercontributing to climate change. The environmental, economic and politicalimplications o global warming are proound.Ecosystems — rom mountain to ocean, romthe Poles to the tropics — are undergoingrapid change. Low-lying cities ace inundation,ertile lands are turning to desert, andweather patterns are becoming ever moreunpredictable. The cost will be borne by all. The poor will behardest hit by weather-related disasters andby soaring price ination or staple oods, buteven the richest nations ace the prospect o economic recession and a world in conictover diminishing resources. Mitigating climatechange, eradicating poverty and promotingeconomic and political stability all demand thesame solution: we must kick the carbon habit. This is the theme or World Environment Day2008. “Kick the Habit: Towards a Low CarbonEconomy”, recognizes the damaging extent o our addiction, and it shows the way orward.Oten we need a crisis to wake us to reality.With the climate crisis upon us, businesses andgovernments are realizing that, ar rom costingthe Earth, addressing global warming canactually save money and invigorate economies.While the estimated costs o climate change areincalculable, the price tag or ghting it may beless than any o us may have thought. Someestimates put the cost at less than one per cento global gross domestic product — a cheapprice indeed or waging a global war.Even better news is that technologies alreadyexist or are under development to make ourconsumption o carbon-based uels cleaner
Inspiring examples
and more efcient and to harness therenewable power o sun, wind and waves. The private sector, in particular, is competingto capitalize on what they recognize as amassive business opportunity.Around the world, nations, cities,organizations and businesses are lookingaresh at green options. At the UnitedNations, I have instructed that the plan orrenovating our New York headquartersshould ollow strict environmentalguidelines. I have also asked the chie executives o all UN programmes, undsand specialized agencies to move switlytowards carbon neutrality.Earlier this year, the UN EnvironmentProgramme launched a climate neutralnetwork — CN Net — to energize thisgrowing trend. Its inaugural members,which include countries, cities andcompanies, are pioneers in a movementthat I believe will increasingly deneenvironmental, economic and politicaldiscourse and decision making over thecoming decades. The message o World EnvironmentDay 2008 is that we are all part o thesolution. Whether you are an individual, anorganization, a business or a government,there are many steps you can take to reduceyour carbon ootprint. It is message we all
    ©    G   a    l    l   o    I   m   a   g   e   s    /    G   e   t   t   y    I   m   a   g   e   s

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