World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 each year, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, to raise awareness about the degrading environment and encourage people to take positive actions and help create a better future.
Mankind’s progress in the last century was accompanied by a massive increase in natural resource exploitation. Each decade has seen an incremental increase in environmental issues from marine pollution and climate change to the depletion of flora and fauna.
World Environment Day History
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in 1972 became the first global conference with the environment as its major agenda. At the conference, the right to live in a healthy environment was declared as a basic human right. The Stockholm Conference formalised the idea of World Environment Day. It also witnessed the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme.
Over the years, World Environment Day has become a global platform for people to participate in campaigns to spread awareness about environmental protection. The day is celebrated every year according to a specific theme and slogan that address the major environmental concern of the time. Each year, a different country hosts the event.
India hosted the 45th World Environment Day in 2018. The theme for that year was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Celebrations for World Environment Day last year kicked off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) — a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from the farmlands to forests, the top of mountains to the depths of the seas.
Importance of World Environment Day
This year presents a historic milestone, marking 50 years since the Stockholm Conference. Sweden is the host country of World Environment Day, 2022, with ‘Only One Earth’ — focussing on living sustainably in harmony with nature — as the theme.
World Environment Day is being observed at a time the planet is facing multiple crises — from climate change to biodiversity loss and an increase in carbon emissions.
This day reminds people of the power at the grassroot and community levels to bring about positive change by making better choices and keeping a check on government and corporate policies that damage the biosphere.