World Environment Day

When is World Environment Day?

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5th. It was started by the United Nations during the green movement of the early 1970s, and has since been the world’s leading environmental holiday. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about pertinent issues concerning the environment and the way human activities impact it. Also, World Environment Day acts as a positive reminder that we can all make a difference, no matter how small the contribution or change.

History

This holiday was started in the middle of one of the first green movements in modern history. In 1972, the United Nations founded World Environment Day. At the same time, the General Assembly also founded the Environment Program, also known as UNEP.

Since the founding of World Environment Day, the holiday has been celebrated in various countries. However, the United Nations also picks a city as its headquarters for the celebrations every year. Many environmental leaders stay in this city during the week of June 5th for all the celebrations.

Celebrations

World Environment Day is celebrated primarily through education, demonstration and action. All of these activities take place during the week of June 5th, with the biggest events being held on the actual holiday. Education is an important aspect of World Environment Day—without understanding the importance of human activity on the environment, people are unlikely to change their lifestyles.

Many groups also decide to prepare demonstrations on the holiday. These demonstrations are peaceful in nature, and are designed as positive reinforcement of proposed environmental changes. Such activities are particularly noticeable in areas of the world in which demonstrations of all sorts are prohibited in certain governments. Some people undoubtedly risk their lives every World Environment Day in order to take a stand.

Finally, action is another large aspect of this holiday. Whether individually or as a group, many people decide to do something good for the environment every June 5th. Activities might include planting a tree, picking up garbage, reusing old containers and purchasing clean energy resources.

Observance

While World Environment Day is celebrated in numerous nations, it is not considered a national holiday in most countries. The United States, for example, observes the holiday every year, but does not consider it a government holiday. This means that government offices remain open and most people still have to go to work (and school, when applicable). However, many workplaces do offer celebrations in honor of World Environment Day. For instance, some companies make group contributions by the way of picking up trash or starting a community garden.

Observing the holiday can also be done at home. You might decide to make over your own impacts on the environment on this day by recycling more or buying local foods. You may even take your efforts a step further by starting an annual clean-up day in a community park or beach.

The United Nations Environmental Program also enacts a different theme for every World Environment Day. In 2013, the theme is “Think, Eat, Save.” This theme is aimed at reducing food waste. While many western nations are accustomed to simply throwing old food away, other people in the world are starving. At the same time, all the environmental impacts that helped contribute to the food are wasted when food is thrown away. Thinking about themes such as these on World Environment Day can help make lasting impacts.

By: Kristeen Cherney



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