World Environment Day
02 Jun 2009
People around the world are uniting for the planet with a strong call for environmental action just six months before the crucial United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen.
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Commemorated yearly on 5th June, World Environment Day (WED) is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
People around the world will unite for the planet with a strong call for environmental action just six months before the crucial United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen.
This year’s theme is ‘Your Planet needs You! It is a chance for everyone, young and old, with their community or with close friends, to show that they care for the planet. This day reflects everyone’s individual responsibility to protect the planet, as well as the urgency for nations to agree on a new climate change deal in December.
The host this year is Mexico, which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change, including its growing participation in the carbon markets.
Mexico is also a leading partner in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign. With the support of its President and people, the country has spearheaded the pledging and planting of some 25 per cent of the trees under the campaign. Accounting for around 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the country is demonstrating its commitment to climate change on several fronts.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “On this World Environment Day. I encourage all people to take concrete steps toward making the planet greener and cleaner. Switch off the lights. Take public transportation. Recycle. Plant a tree. Clean up your local park. Hold corporations responsible for their environmental practices. And urge your government representatives to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen.”
Actions from around the world
Thousands of other activities will take place around the world for WED — here is just a taste of some of the initiatives:
- Tree plantings around the world: WED 2009 will see a wave of tree planting around the planet as part of UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign, which aims to see 7 billion trees planted by the end of 2009. New partners who have recently come on board include the Scout Movement and the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Tree plantings will range from the massive to the local, with 20,000 mangroves to be planted in Keddah (Malaysia) as well as small-scale plantings by communities around the world, from Sierra Leone to India.
- Twitter campaign: UNEP will plant one tree for every person who follows its new Twitter page www.twitter.com/UNEPandYou by 5 June.
- Youth video conference: A videolink will unite youth across three continents — in Nairobi, New York, Panama and Vienna — to discuss their role in promoting awareness and actions on climate change.
- Russia: UNEP will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the organizers of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, whereby UNEP will advise the Olympic organizers in their efforts to green the Games — including issues like sustainable transport, renewable energy, ecosystems management, and green procurement among others.
- Afghanistan: A neighbourhood clean-up will take place in Kabul on World Environment Day, along with a series of awareness-raising campaigns through schools and mosques.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: In Sarajevo, the ‘Run to the Hills’ 10-km race will take runners from around Europe up the beautiful forested paths of the Olympic Mountains.
- Nepal: An ‘Ecofootball’ match entitled ‘GOAL-against Climate Change’ will bring together celebrities, politicians and environmentalists, with the aim of raising awareness on climate change and the need for a united response.
- Brazil: An online campaign will call online volunteers to produce, translate and disseminate information and advice on environmentally-friendly lifestyles.
- Kenya: A seafront clean-up will be organized on the island of Lamu with schoolchildren, students, community and government representatives.
- Belgium: The EchoFestival in Brussels’s Royal Park will include a picnic, exhibits, a concert and a fair for a “shared eco-cultural experience”.
- Republic of Korea: 30,000 children will take part in a painting competition on the environment.
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