World Environment Day (WED), celebrated every year on June 5, is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First established in 1972, World Environment Day is of utmost importance to Mother Nature and her inhabitants. It is born of the awareness that the environment is our home, and preserving it for future generations is more crucial than ever today.
World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED provides a new theme that NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes. The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is Ecosystem Restoration. Pakistan will act as global host of the day, this year. World Environment Day 2021 will also see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Ecosystem restoration can take many forms: Growing trees, greening cities, building gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts. The need to restore damaged ecosystems is more urgent now than ever. Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier our planet and its people.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Ever since the first WED was celebrated in 1972, more and more people have begun to understand that we need to sustainably manage our planet’s resources and ecosystem. WED provides an occasion to raise awareness and teach friends and family that the physical environment is fragile and indispensable. Pope Francis says in Laudato Si, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”
Joe Eruppakkatt, a former editor for ST PAULS Publications and The Teenager Today, has been actively involved in the field of print media in India, the U.S., Great Britain and Nigeria. He is currently working for ST PAULS, New Delhi.