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World Environment Day 2024: History, Significance, and Theme

calendar01 Jun, 2024
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes

Our environment plays a vital role in life on planet Earth. The environment is everything that surrounds us through both living and non-living things, such as soil, water, animals, and plants that adapt themselves to their surroundings. Environment comes from the French word ‘Environ’, which means ‘surrounding’. The ecosystem refers to all the living and non-living things in the environment and is a foundation of the Biosphere, which regulates the health of the entire planet Earth.

World Environment Day (WED) was founded with various plans and agendas, and it aims to remove all the conservation issues from this planet and make it a fabulous planet. It was necessary to establish this particular event to focus on environmental problems and give people a face to environmental issues. This blog will look into the importance of conserving our environment, learn the significance behind World Environment Day, and its thematic approach towards humanity.

An Introduction to World Environment Day

World Environment Day is celebrated by the people in almost 100 countries on the 5th of June every year. It was raised and established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, which was declared and came into action of celebrating from 1973 annually. There is always a celebration based on the particular theme declared by the United Nations to act positively in every aspect. The organisation aimed to celebrate World Environment Day to motivate people to act positively toward Mother Nature.

The main agenda of this campaign is to encourage the people through the media about the necessity of saving our environment by endorsing and participating in its celebration and getting appropriate results regarding the proper functioning of our planet.  The honorary diplomats from the United Nations Environment Programme convey messages worldwide to start taking action regarding World Environment Day. This campaign calls for people to come together and celebrate the event in massive numbers to be mindful of real environmental problems and be one of the effective programs against ecological issues to fight climate change.

Our environment is not just a collection of trees, rivers, and animals; these are the pillars of our existence. Environmental conservation is essential for the well-being of both humans and the natural world. Understanding the interdependence of all living things and knowing our responsibilities as agents of the Earth is necessary. Through this blog, we should be involved in the celebration and take a pledge to save our environment for a better future.

A Glimpse of the History

World Environment Day puts a global limelight on the demanding environmental challenges of our times. This UN World Environment Day has become the most significant global stand for environmental outreach, with millions worldwide coming together to protect the planet. In 1972, the United Nations General Assembly established World Environment Day on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Two years later, in 1974, the first WED was held with the theme “Only One Earth”. Even though Environment Day celebrations have been held annually since 1974, in 1987, the idea of rotating the centre of these activities with a proper selection of different host countries began.

Almost 122 countries came together with India, represented by our then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who attended the global summit, knowing it as a turning point in the international cooperation for world environmental politics. The remarkable conference in Stockholm lasted from the 5th to the 16th of June. After the 5th of December of the same year, the UN General Assembly declared 5th June World Environment Day. It aimed to raise awareness about human impact on the environment and inspire mindful action to restore it.

On the same day, the General Assembly founded a specialized environmental issue agency called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This action’s mission is upfront: to provide leadership and encourage global leaders to partner up and take action to protect our environment. The Stockholm Conference is often called the initiating point of World Environment Day, and consequently, UNEP was formed. The world would be very different without these events and their consequences.

Significance of World Environment Day

It is necessary to address environmental issues like deforestation, increasing global warming, excess and losses of food, pollution, etc. All over the world, several campaigns are organized with a specific theme and slogan to bring out effectiveness across the globe. This day is celebrated to achieve energy production through solar sources successfully, promote coral reefs and mangroves, carbon neutrality, reduce greenhouse effects, focus on forest management, plant degraded lands, promote coral reefs and mangroves, develop new drainage systems, etc.

A 2015 study by the Ellen McArthur Foundation shows that 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste have been generated worldwide, and around 90% of this will not be decomposed for at least 500 years. According to scientists, microplastic or tiny fragments have been found in soil, tap water, bottled water, air, and even the air we breathe.

In March 2022, 175 United Nations member countries signed up for a resolution adopted by the United Nations Environment Assembly to try and eliminate plastic pollution. A legally obligatory agreement is set to be formulated by 2024. The key objective behind observing the day is to increase awareness worldwide and take measures to protect the environment.

  1. World Environment Day is celebrated to spread awareness among the public about environmental issues.
  2. Encourage familiar people from different societies and communities to voluntarily participate in the celebration and become active agents in developing ecological safety measures.
  3. Encourage people to make their nearby surroundings safe and clean to enjoy a safer, cleaner, and more prosperous future.

The theme of 2024 for World Environment Day

Over the past five decades, this day has created its place over one of the largest global platforms for environmental extension. Ten million people participate in online and in-person activities, events, and actions worldwide. As per the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, 40 percent of the planet’s land is already degrading, which is directly affecting half of the world’s population and causing threats to half of the global GDP (US$44 trillion). The drought duration has increased by 29 percent since 2000; if no urgent action is taken, droughts can affect over three-fourths of the world’s population by 2050.

Land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience are the main agenda of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030); it is a collective call for the safety and recovery of a greener-lusher environment worldwide, which is a critical case to achieve through the Sustainable Development Goals.

With the focus shifting to land restoration, Saudi Arabia will host World Environment Day 2024 (30th Anniversary). The sixteenth session of the Conference for All the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, from 2nd to 13th December 2024.

Facts about World Environment Day

Here are a few interesting facts about World Environment Day-

  1. According to the UN (United Nations), if population growth and resource consumption continue at the current rate, humans will require three planets like Earth by 2050.
  2. 122 countries celebrate and participate in World Environment Day.
  3. The World Environment Day has its anthem, Only One Earth. This anthem is a song written by an Indian poet and diplomat, Abhay Kumar, to exalt Earth and all the life forms inhabiting the globe.
  4. If one aluminium can is recycled, we can save energy by running a TV for three hours. Imagine recycling 80+ trillion aluminium cans, which can save up to how much power.
  5. 93% of children across the world live in areas where the air quality, according to the limits of WHO guidelines, is polluted, with 600,000 children under 15 dying of respiratory tract infections in 2016.

Takeaway

Our environment is declining daily because of the harsh exploitation of resources, pollution, and global warming. We should celebrate and encourage eco-friendly change in our country to save the ecosystem for a better future. Environmental issues are significant, and everyone must be aware of them and make positive and equal efforts to solve them. Youths of any country, in the form of students, hope to bring some positive changes to the environment, which is full of pollution, global warming, etc. The celebration of World Environment Day sets a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the planet for future generations. So, on this day, let’s contribute to building a more sustainable and robust world together. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is 5 June celebrated as Environment Day?

    World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The first WED was held in 1973 with the theme “Only One Earth.”

  2. What is the aim of World Environment Day?

    World Environment Day aims to encourage communities to protect the environment. It helps investigate policy changes and promote local, national, and international environmental policies.

  3. What are the slogans of World Environment Day (WED)?

    The few prominent slogans of WED:
    –  Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
    –  Go green, breathe clean
    –  Stop polluting the environment
    –  Save our planet
    –  Think before you trash

  4. Who is called the father of Earth Day?

    One such man was Gaylord Nelson, the father of Earth Day. Nelson's vision is being executed and has grown into a worldwide celebration of the planet.

  5. What is the environment, its types, and its importance?

    Environment refers to the surroundings, which include both living and non-living elements. It refers to the social, natural, or constructed environment.

  6. What is the importance of our environment?

    Our environment gives us clean air, water, food, materials, and recreation opportunities. Spending time in Mother Nature's arms brings good stability and mental health. Taking care of the climate and ecosystems is extremely important to lead a well-being life.

  7. What is the difference between Earth Day and Environment Day?

    Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. It focuses on creating awareness and promoting action towards ecological protection globally. World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. It is a United Nations initiative that encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

  8. What is the theme of Environment Day in 2024?

    The theme of World Environment Day 2024 is-
    Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience.

  9. Which country will host 2024 World Environment Day?

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host the global celebrations for World Environment Day 2024. Since the country faces issues like desertification, degradation, and drought, the government has deeply invested in the event to deliver solutions and raise awareness.

Read our article Best Green Business Ideas To Make Money And Save The Environment

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