World Environment Day

World Environment day
Environment day
Official nameUN World Environment Day
Also calledEco Day, Environment Day, WED
SignificanceEnvironmental issues awareness
ObservancesEnvironment Protection
Date5 June
First time5 June 1974; 47 years ago

World Environment Day (WED) occurs on the 5th of June every year and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments, and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.


world environment day celebration in India
Environment Day in India

World Environment Day [WED] was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972, on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, resulting from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment. Two years later, in 1974, the first WED was held with the theme “Only One Earth.” Even though WED celebration has been held annually since 1974, in 1987, the idea for rotating the center of these activities through selecting different host countries began.

Annual themes and major initiatives and accomplishments

For almost five decades, World Environment Day has been raising awareness, supporting action, and driving change. Here is a timeline of key accomplishments in WEDs’ history:


World Environment Day 2021 will be hosted by Pakistan. World Environment Day theme for 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration” with the slogan “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore”.


World Environment Day 2020 will be hosted by Australia.


In 2019, China hosted the World Environment Day celebrations on the theme, ‘Air Pollution.’


Activities for world environment day in Bhopal
Activities for world environment day in Bhopal

The theme for 2018 was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The host nation was India. By choosing this Theme, it was aimed that people may strive to changes in their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution. People should be free from over-reliance on single-use or disposables, as they have severe environmental consequences. We should liberate our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health from plastics.


The theme for 2017 was ‘Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator. The host nation was Canada.


The 2016 WED was organized under the theme “Go wild for life.” This edition of the WED aims to reduce and prevent illegal trade in wildlife. Angola was chosen as the host country of the 2016 WED during the COP21 in Paris.


The Slogan of the 2015 edition of World Environment Day was “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”. The slogan was picked through a voting process on social media. In Saudi Arabia, 15 women recycled 2000 plastic bags to crochet a mural in support of the WED 2015. In India, Narendra Modi planted a Kadamb sapling to celebrate World Environment Day and raise awareness for Environment. Italy was the host country of the 43rd edition of the WED. The celebrations took place as part of the Milan Expo around the theme: Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.


The Theme of the 2014 WED was the International Year of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). By choosing this Environment Program named actor Ian Somerhalder as the official Goodwill Ambassador of the WED 2014.


World Environment Day 2011 in Donetsk, Ukraine

The 2013 theme for World Environment Day was Think.Eat.Save.

The campaign addressed the huge annual wastage and losses in food, which, if conserved, would release a large quantity of the food as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint. The campaign aimed to bring about awareness in countries with lifestyles resulting in food wastage. It also aimed to empower people to make informed choices about the food they eat so as to reduce the overall ecological impact due to the worldwide production of food. The host country for the year’s celebrations was Mongolia.


US Consul CG Yee, along with the Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, the Prefect of Thessaloniki Panagiotis Psomiadis, and many others participating in World Environment Day on the waterfront, Bike Path

The theme for the 2012 World Environment Day was Green Economy: Does it include you?

The theme aimed to invite people to examine their activities and lifestyle and see how the concept of a “Green Economy” fits into it. The host country for the year’s celebrations was Brazil.


The theme for 2011 was Forests-Nature At Your Service. Thousands of activities were organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events, and much more. This year’s global host, India, is a country of wide biodiversity.


Stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Environmental Festival 2011
Stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Environmental Festival 2011

‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future’ was the theme of 2010.

It celebrated the diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. It was hosted in Rwanda. Thousands of activities were organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events, and much more. Each continent (except Antarctica) had a “regional host city,” the U.N. chose Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the host for all North.


The theme for WED 2009 was ‘Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change,’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ was declared ‘World Environment Day Song.’ It was hosted in Mexico.


Trees planting during the World Environment Day 2012 in Konso – Ethiopia
Trees planting during the World Environment Day 2012 in Konso – Ethiopia.

The host for World Environment Day 2008 was New Zealand, with the main international celebrations scheduled for Wellington. The slogan for 2008 was “CO2, Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy”. New Zealand was one of the first countries to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality and will also focus on forest management as a tool for reducing greenhouse gases. The Chicago Botanic Garden served as the North American host for World Environment Day on 5 June 2008.


The topic for World Environment Day for 2007 was “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?” During International Polar Year, WED 2007 focused on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, on other ice- and snow-covered areas of the world, and the resulting global impacts.

The main international celebrations of the WED 2007 were held in the city of Tromsø, Norway, a city north of the Arctic Circle.


The topic for WED 2006 was Deserts and Desertification, and the slogan was “Don’t desert drylands.”

The slogan emphasized the importance of protecting drylands. The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2006 were held in Algeria.


Standard World Environment Day banners hung in San Francisco in May 2005

The theme for the 2005 World Environment Day was “Green Cities” and the slogan was “Plan for the Planet!”.

Host cities

World Environment Day celebrations have been (and will be) hosted in the following cities:

YearThemeHost city
1974 Only one Earth during Expo ’74Spokane, United States
1975Human SettlementsDhaka, Bangladesh
1976Water: Vital Resource for LifeOntario, Canada
1977Ozone Layer Environmental Concern; Lands Loss and Soil DegradationSylhet, Bangladesh
1978Development Without DestructionSylhet, Bangladesh
1979Only One Future for Our Children – Development Without DestructionSylhet, Bangladesh
1980A New Challenge for the New Decade: Development Without DestructionSylhet, Bangladesh
1981Ground Water; Toxic Chemicals in Human Food ChainsSylhet, Bangladesh
1982Ten Years After Stockholm (Renewal of Environmental Concerns)Dhaka, Bangladesh
1983Managing and Disposing Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and EnergySylhet, Bangladesh
1984DesertificationRajshahi, Bangladesh
1985Youth: Population and the EnvironmentIslamabad, Pakistan
1986A Tree for PeaceOntario, Canada
1987Environment and Shelter: More Than A RoofNairobi, Kenya
1988When People Put the Environment First, Development Will LastBangkok, Thailand
1989Global Warming; Global WarningBrussels, Belgium
1990Children and the EnvironmentMexico City, Mexico
1991Climate Change. Need for Global PartnershipStockholm, Sweden
1992Only One Earth, Care and ShareRio de Janeiro, Brazil
1993Poverty and the Environment – Breaking the Vicious CircleBeijing, People’s Republic of China
1994One Earth One FamilyLondon, United Kingdom
1995We the Peoples: United for the Global EnvironmentPretoria, South Africa
1996Our Earth, Our Habitat, Our HomeIstanbul, Turkey
1997For Life on EarthSeoul, Republic of Korea
1998For Life on Earth – Save Our SeasMoscow, Russian Federation
1999Our Earth – Our Future – Just Save It!Tokyo, Japan
2000The Environment Millennium – Time to ActAdelaide, Australia
2001Connect with the World Wide Web of LifeTorino, Italy and Havana, Cuba
2002Give Earth a ChanceShenzhen, People’s Republic of China
2003Water – Two Billion People are Dying for It!Beirut, Lebanon
2004Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?Barcelona, Spain
2005Green Cities – Plan for the Planet!San Francisco, United States
2006Deserts and Desertification – Don’t Desert Drylands!Algiers, Algeria
2007Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?London, England
2008Kick The Habit – Towards A Low Carbon EconomyWellington, New Zealand
2009Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate ChangeMexico City, Mexico
2010Many Species. One Planet. One FutureRangpur, Bangladesh
2011Forests: Nature at your ServiceNew Delhi, India
2012Green Economy: Does it include you?Brasilia, Brazil
2013Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your FoodprintUlaanbaatar, Mongolia
2014Raise your voice, not the sea levelBridgetown, Barbados
2015Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.Rome, Italy
2016Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife tradeLuanda, Angola
2017Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equatorOttawa, Canada
2018Beat Plastic PollutionNew Delhi, India
2019Air PollutionChina
2020Time for NatureColombia
2021Ecosystem restorationPakistan

An Earth Anthem penned by poet Abhay K is sung to celebrate World Environment Day.World Environment Day Anthem

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and all the oceans
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
different cultures, beliefs and ways
we are humans, the earth is our home
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag.

It was launched in June 2013 on the occasion of the World Environment Day by Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister of India, at a function organized by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi. It is supported by the global organization Habitat For Humanity.

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