“If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either”. – Joseph Wood Krutch
We only have one earth to live in, which, obviously we can’t afford to lose. We humans, in the name of development, are constantly harming our mother nature. The damage so caused was initially only limited to wildlife and other living creatures. When the damage caused by humans increased so much that it started effecting our environment, then we decided to take certain steps to save our environment. These steps involves, shifting towards sustainable development, working towards a ban on CFCs, achieving carbon neutrality, imposing pollution norms on industries, etc.
One such step taken by the United Nations is celebrating ‘World Environment Day’. It is celebrated every year on the 5th of June. This day is celebrated in order to raise awareness about environmental related problems and to motivate people to come forward and take steps for environmental protection. It was started to create global awareness about the condition of the Environment. World Environment Day is organized by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
It was first celebrated every year by running some effective campaigns by the United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the conference on Human Environment which was held from the 5th to 16th of June, 1972. World Environment Day was first celebrated in 1973 with a theme of ‘Only One Earth’. From the year 1974, this day is celebrated globally and the campaign is hosted in different cities.
This year ‘World Environment Day’ was hosted by Angola. The theme for 2016 was ‘Zero Tolerance for Illegal Trade in Wildlife’. This year’s slogan was ‘Go Wild for Life’, and it aimed at creating awareness about the increasing illegal trade in wildlife.
Illegal trade of wildlife is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity and damaging our natural heritage and pushing wildlife species towards extinction. Other than the effect to the environment, it also results in enhancing corruption, developing black market, and increasing organized crime, etc.
Trading of wildlife plays a significant role in wild life extinction. Many animal species have recently faced extinction from the globe. 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.
On this day, many initiatives were taken by countries and various institutions across the globe. On this day, the Nepal government sends the Gurkha Army out of barracks on the road to clean the environment and for afforestation programmes. Zee News launched ‘My Earth, My Duty’ campaign. This campaign has entered the Limca Book of Records for a novel effort: for planting more than 7,300,000 trees in one single day across 34 cities and 250,000 villages on 25 August 2010. Many arts and drawing competitions on environment day are also organized in schools, to create awareness about the importance of environment and wildlife.