World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on 5 June; engaging governments, businesses, celebrities, and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.
In 2020, the theme is biodiversity–a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa–and now, a global disease pandemic–demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist. Nature is sending us a message.
Above all, World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change. It recognizes that global change requires a global community. It pushes for individuals to think about the way they consume; for businesses to develop greener models; for farmers and manufacturers to produce more sustainably; for governments to safeguard wild spaces; for educators to inspire students to live in harmony with the Earth, and for youth to become fierce gatekeepers of a green future. It requires all of us.
Every World Environment Day is hosted by a different country, in which official celebrations take place. This year’s host is Colombia in partnership with Germany.
BIODIVERSITY AND ITS CONNECTION TO HUMANS
Biodiversity is the foundation that supports all life on land and below water. It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance, and climate change mitigation. Changing, or removing one element of this web affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences.
Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture, and acceleration of climate change, have pushed nature beyond its limit. It would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make of nature each year. If we continue on this path, biodiversity loss will have severe implications for humanity, including the collapse of food and health systems.
The emergence of COVID-19 has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Today, it is estimated that, globally, about one billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from diseases caused by coronaviruses; and about 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted to people by animals.
ITS TIME TO ACT NOW!
The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. Yet with all these things we should also protect our nature by saying no to plastic pollution. Using products like organic produce bags, eco-friendly cutlery set, reusable wooden utensils and biodegradable brush can help a lot.
Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:
To care for ourselves we must care for nature!
It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices!
It’s time to build back better for People and Planet!
This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature!