World Environment Day (WED), which takes place ever year on 5 June, is the United Nations’ main way of encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries.
It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanising individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
‘The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations. We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.
‘In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact. Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make. Let us become better stewards of our planet.’
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
The WED theme this year is ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.’ The wellbeing of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. And yet, evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.
Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.
Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realised. Human prosperity need not cost the Earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.
World Environment Day 2015 is being globally hosted by Italy, a country at the forefront of global action towards improved global nutrition and resource use.
‘It is an honour for Italy to work together with UNEP in leading the global celebrations for World Environment Day 2015.
‘This year, WED will focus on the need to respect the carrying capacity of the planet and to manage natural resources efficiently—all aspects that are of utmost importance if we really want to ensure prosperity and wellbeing globally.
‘I firmly believe in the benefits offered by sustainable consumption and production models in terms of economic opportunities, inclusiveness, employment, resiliency and quality of life.
‘We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the international and multidimensional arena represented by EXPO 2015 to stimulate greater thinking and action on these topics in view of the crucial decisions that will be taken later this year: the launch of the post-2015 development agenda in September, and the new agreement on Climate Change in December.’
Gian Luca Galletti Italian Minister for the Environment
Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.
Through decades of WED celebrations, hundreds of thousands of people from countries all over the world and from all sectors of society have participated in individual and organised environmental action. WED 2014 received a total of 6,437 pledges and over 3,000 activities were registered online, resulting in a total of about 9,700 which is triple to the previous two years.
Click here to find out more about WED 2015 and to register your own WED activity.
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