World Environment Day is observed every June 5 to inspire worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment as it is our only lifeline. Without it, our planet and all of us living organisms would have no place to live and grow.
Earth is the only planet that sustains life in the entire solar system and Milky Way galaxy. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts.
History of World Environment Day (WED):
The United National Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which had resulted from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment.
Two years later, in 1974, the first World Environment Day was held with the theme ‘Only One Earth’. To focus on ecosystem restoration, this year 2021, the theme of World Environment Day is Ecosystem Restoration, and Pakistan is the hosting country.
Even though World Environment Day celebrations have been held annually since 1974, in 1987, it was decided that the celebrations would be in a rotatory manner with different countries hosting it in different years with different themes. Since 1974, many innovative themes have been taken up by different countries.
India as a Host Nation:
India became the host for World Environment Day for the first time in 2011 and 2018 with the themes ‘Forests – Nature At Your Service’ and ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
In 2011, the activities conducted in India and worldwide included beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events, tree plantings and much more.
For 2018, India hoped that by choosing Beat Plastic Pollution as the theme, people would strive to change their perspective regarding plastic and avoid using it. The goal of a plastic-free India is by 2022.
Things we can do to Save Our Environment
Though most of the steps to save the environment are simple and overheard every day, the pandemic has taught us new perspectives that we missed earlier.
Sometimes, the task may seem impossible, however some steps that we can take to save our environment are as follows:
- Use Reusable Bags – Carry your bag and reuse it. In that way, you can maintain hygiene and safety.
- Recycle – Recycling is perhaps the most important thing to save the environment.
- Save Resources – be it water, electricity or anything for that matter. Just consider resources as ours, and we are all responsible.
- Print as Little as Necessary
- Don’t Throw Away Books – It is a common practice that students throw away their school or college books after the course ends as it is considered clutter. This practice can be avoided as those books can help a future student in his/her studies. Recycling those books is another option to consider.
- A post-pandemic scenario suggestion: Choose walking/cycling for short distances, prefer public transportation or pooling whenever possible.
- Kitchen Waste: Use Fewer Chemicals – Use more organic compost, manure etc. for your garden, instead of using chemical insecticides, pesticides and other chemical garden-care products as it hampers the environment as they get washed away with the soil into the groundwater and pollute it and cause harm to people using handpumps, borewells etc. to use the groundwater.
- Beauty Products – Prefer environment-friendly and organic beauty brands.
- Kitchen Plants – Try growing small kitchen plants or herbs whenever possible. Make sure you grow at least one or two leafy vegetables for survival in the worst case scenarios.
- Avoid food wastage – Cook whatever you can consume and avoid wastage. With food wastage, you are wasting a lot of resources indirectly.
- Make sure kids are involved or aware of the practices you follow for effective resource utilization or conserving. Inculcate these habits in their lifestyle right from their childhood.
- Make sure you avoid household wastage as much as possible and follow proper disposal practices.
These practices are simple yet effective if followed on a large scale.