Did you know that June 5th is recognized as World Environment Day? WED (World Environment Day) was first established in 1972 by the UN General Assembly. Its initiation corresponded with the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and on June 5, 1974, the very first WED was held. The theme for that first event was “Only One Earth.” Since 1974, WED has been working to spark discussions and educate people about the impact human interactions have on the environment. Each year focuses on a specific environmental theme, including issues like marine population, world wildlife, wildlife crime and the illegal animal trade, human overpopulation, sustainable consumption, and of course, global warming. WED doesn’t limit itself to the UN, though; it has become a global platform for public outreach and advocacy for environmental causes, and it attracts participation from major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments, and even celebrities from over 143 countries worldwide each year.
Does this all sound a bit familiar?
That might be because last year was Canada’s year to host WED activities. In 1987, the idea was formed that WED could have a much more lasting global impact if each year a different country was selected as the host or centre for WED activities. If different countries got on board each year to take the initiative to promote awareness and action in the name of environmental protection, then that would mean strengthening the centres for raising awareness, supporting action, and driving change (WED’s mantra) across the globe to encourage more invested participation. In 2017, Canada’s theme was ‘Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator.’ Canada’s capitol city, Ottawa, Ontario, acted as the centre for the event, which added an important compliment to Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
This year, WED is being hosted by New Delhi, India, and the theme is beating plastic pollution.
In celebration of its role as this year’s host country, India has pledged to clean up 100 historic sites—the Taj Mahal included. New Delhi and the United Nations are raising awareness and prompting concrete action against plastic pollution by educating the world about the negative impact plastic—industrial as well as single-use plastics—has on the environment. As Shri Raghavendra Rao, of India’s Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, quoted, “The problem lies with the way we consume and dispose of plastic. In India today, 45 per cent of plastics produced are single-use. That is a major problem.”
WED is advocating for the elimination of plastic pollution by promoting awareness about technological innovations that could eliminate the need for plastics altogether—innovations like reusable stainless steel straws to replace the millions of straws that are used daily, reusable fabric substitutes for the trillion plastic bags that are used worldwide each year, and reusable water bottles to replace the billions of plastic bottles that are thrown away each year (Americans alone throw away 35 million plastic bottles every year).
As consumers, WED reminds us that we need to be a lot more conscientious about the way we consume and dispose of products, and our consumption and disposal of plastics is a big part of that. However, cutting down on our use of plastics isn’t the only way we can celebrate World Environment Day. We can also make the switch to more environmentally friendly energy sources, so we can be more conscientious about our energy consumption, too. For information about energy providers who can help you go green, or for more information about how to cut back on energy consumption, contact us at energyrates.ca today.