|Official name||UN World Environment Day|
|Also called||Eco Day, Environment Day, WED|
|Significance||Environmental issues awareness|
|First time||5 June 1974|
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 [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 2020 will be hosted by Australia.
In 2019, China hosted the World Environment Day celebrations on the theme, ‘Air Pollution’.
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 the 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 the 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 the 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 Milan Expo around the theme: Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.
The Theme of the 2014 WED was 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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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 the World Environment Day 2006 were held in Algeria.
The theme for the 2005 World Environment Day was “Green Cities” and the slogan was “Plan for the Planet!”.
World Environment Day celebrations have been (and will be) hosted in the following cities:
|1974||Only one Earth during Expo ’74||Spokane, United States|
|1975||Human Settlements||Dhaka, Bangladesh|
|1976||Water: Vital Resource for Life||Ontario, Canada|
|1977||Ozone Layer Environmental Concern; Lands Loss and Soil Degradation||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1978||Development Without Destruction||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1979||Only One Future for Our Children – Development Without Destruction||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1980||A New Challenge for the New Decade: Development Without Destruction||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1981||Ground Water; Toxic Chemicals in Human Food Chains||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1982||Ten Years After Stockholm (Renewal of Environmental Concerns)||Dhaka, Bangladesh|
|1983||Managing and Disposing Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and Energy||Sylhet, Bangladesh|
|1985||Youth: Population and the Environment||Islamabad, Pakistan|
|1986||A Tree for Peace||Ontario, Canada|
|1987||Environment and Shelter: More Than A Roof||Nairobi, Kenya|
|1988||When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last||Bangkok, Thailand|
|1989||Global Warming; Global Warning||Brussels, Belgium|
|1990||Children and the Environment||Mexico City, Mexico|
|1991||Climate Change. Need for Global Partnership||Stockholm, Sweden|
|1992||Only One Earth, Care and Share||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|1993||Poverty and the Environment – Breaking the Vicious Circle||Beijing, People’s Republic of China|
|1994||One Earth One Family||London, United Kingdom|
|1995||We the Peoples: United for the Global Environment||Pretoria, South Africa|
|1996||Our Earth, Our Habitat, Our Home||Istanbul, Turkey|
|1997||For Life on Earth||Seoul, Republic of Korea|
|1998||For Life on Earth – Save Our Seas||Moscow, Russian Federation|
|1999||Our Earth – Our Future – Just Save It!||Tokyo, Japan|
|2000||The Environment Millennium – Time to Act||Adelaide, Australia|
|2001||Connect with the World Wide Web of Life||Torino, Italy and Havana, Cuba|
|2002||Give Earth a Chance||Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China|
|2003||Water – Two Billion People are Dying for It!||Beirut, Lebanon|
|2004||Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?||Barcelona, Spain|
|2005||Green Cities – Plan for the Planet!||San Francisco, United States|
|2006||Deserts and Desertification – Don’t Desert Drylands!||Algiers, Algeria|
|2007||Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?||London, England|
|2008||Kick The Habit – Towards A Low Carbon Economy||Wellington, New Zealand|
|2009||Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change||Mexico City, Mexico|
|2010||Many Species. One Planet. One Future||Rangpur, Bangladesh|
|2011||Forests: Nature at your Service||New Delhi, India|
|2012||Green Economy: Does it include you?||Brasilia, Brazil|
|2013||Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint||Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia|
|2014||Raise your voice, not the sea level||Bridgetown, Barbados|
|2015||Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.||Rome, Italy|
|2016||Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife trade||Luanda, Angola|
|2017||Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator||Ottawa, Canada|
|2018||Beat Plastic Pollution||New Delhi, India|
World Environment Day Anthem
An Earth Anthem penned by poet Abhay K is sung to celebrate World Environment Day.
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.