World Environment Day Celebrated on June 5th
The internationally celebrated World Environment Day is an important way to raise awareness for the environment. It serves as a day of action, where individual contributions to sustainability are encouraged and celebrated. This year, the United Nations Environmental Program celebrated WED on Friday, June 5th, at the Milan Expo in Milan, Italy.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” Participants were encouraged to take action, registering their environmental efforts in a global push for sustainability. Through collective organization, WED raises awareness about the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources on which our well-beings depend.
However small or large an individual’s commitment, UNEP invited each of the seven billion people on the planet to mark this year’s WED by taking action for the Earth.
“I would like to invite everyone to imagine what the world would be like if each of the 7 billion people made one change towards a more responsible consumption of resources,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, in his message. He continued, “I would like you to hold on to that vision and strive to make it reality—be it refusing to buy single-use plastic bags or riding a bike to work.”
In his speech at Expo Milano, Achim Steiner detailed some of the realities of Earth’s capabilities to sustain humanity, demonstrating that action is needed from everyone to guarantee a productive environment for our future. He explained that with current trends of population growth and global extraction of resources, by 2030 humanity will need the equivalent of two Earths to support itself.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged participants to think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make, and to become better stewards of our planet. “The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations,” he stated in this year’s message. “We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food,” he added.
Milan’s Expo’s featured the theme “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life” and promoted awareness about sustainable consumption. It featured showcases of state-of-the-art technology and ideas and solutions that can help guarantee healthy, safe, and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, the UN Expo Team and the Milan Expo. Activities were organized with partners such as FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, Slow Food, WWF Italy, Cinemambiente and the Green Film Network, as well as other international organizations.