In honor of World Environment Day, today I will cover the history, goals and accomplishments of this celebrated occasion.
World Environment Day is the fundamental platform used by the United Nations to promote environmental awareness and action.
This day is celebrated every year on June 5th to remind people of their duties and responsibilities towards the environment. The event first started in 1972 when the conference on the environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden. It is hosted in a new location every year- along with a new theme; this year it is in Pakistan with the theme of “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.”
“Reimagine. Recreate. Restore” applies to small changes in daily lives. While the UN has motives regarding larger corporations, the change can start in our own personal lives. Changing lifestyle habits such as planting more trees, reducing single-use plastic usage to reusable materials, switching off lights to save energy; these are all ideas this year’s theme promotes.
This year, the United Nations will launch ‘UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’- a 10-year plan that will make the authorities and corporations think on the path of stopping environmental degradation.
One of the main focuses is protecting natural ecosystems. This year, the UN wants each nation to pledge to reversing the mindless practices that are polluting our cities, coasts and forests (Financial Express).
According to the US Climate Resilience Toolkit, here are the seven goals identified by the US government in order to help ecosystems cope with the effects of climate change:
- Conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions in a changing climate.
- Manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable cultural, subsistence recreational, and commercial use in a changing climate.
- Enhance capacity for effective management in a changing climate.
- Support adaptive management in a changing climate through integrated observation and monitoring and use of decision support tools.
- Increase knowledge and information on impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and plants to a changing climate.
- Increase awareness and motivate action to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants in a changing climate.
- Reduce non-climate stressors to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate.
While the goal is for nations to pledge an attempt to reverse the impacts of unsustainable production and pollution, setting goals is the best way to go about administering change.
“For too long, we have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems. Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century we have destroyed half of our wetlands. As much as 50 per cent of our coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 per cent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5°C.
Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting and reversing this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.
Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.”