World Environment Day 2016

World Environment Day 2016

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. 

HISTORY

UN designates June 5 as World Environment Day in 1972; two years later, WED is celebrated for the first time under the slogan “Only One Earth.” 

Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on increasingly urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people around the world have been motivated by the ‘people’s day’ for action, and are increasingly weaving their activities into a global movement through the expanding WED website and social media.

 

THE PEOPLE’S DAY

Above all, WED serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change. That ‘something’ can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd – everyone is free to choose.

 

THE THEME

Each WED is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. WED 2016 is themed on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life' 

 

GO WILD FOR LIFE

The booming illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving whole species to the brink of extinction. The killing and smuggling is also undermining economies and ecoystems, fuelling organized crime, and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe.

Wildlife crime endangers iconic elephants, rhinos, tigers, gorillas and sea turtles. In 2011, a subspecies of Javan rhino went extinct in Vietnam, while the last western black rhinos vanished from Cameroon the same year. Great apes have disappeared from Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo, and other countries could quickly follow. Lesser-known victims include helmeted hornbills and pangolins as well as wild orchids and timbers like Rosewood – flowers and timber are also considered wildlife!

Huge efforts to counter the illicit trade - including stronger policies, awareness campaigns and investments in community conservation and law enforcement - have scored some great successes. However, many species remain at risk and it will take a dedicated and sustained effort by each and every one of us to turn the tide.

How can we do it? More people need to understand the damage this illicit business is doing to our environment, livelihoods, communities and security. We must change our habits and behaviour so that demand for illegal wildlife products falls. More awareness and action pushes governments and international bodies to introduce and enforce tougher laws and combat those still willing to break them.

This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages you to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level - many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.

 

THE HOST

Every WED has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. WED highlights the environmental challenges facing that country, and supports the effort to address them. This year’s host is Angola.

 

BE AN AGENT OF CHANGE

Celebrate THE UN'S biggest day for positive environmental action. 

Join the campaign by visiting www.wildfor.life and using the #Wildforlife hashtag on Twitter to share your kindred animal and pledge. See Green Touches initiative for World Environment Day 2016 

 

the source UNEP