World Environment Day has been officially recognized every June 5th since 1974. It all began in 1972 when the United Nations held the first major conference on environmental issues in Stockholm, Sweden. At the time it was called the Conference on the Human Environment, or the Stockholm Conference, and the goal was to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment. That conference evolved into an official day recognized by over 143 countries worldwide beginning in 1974.
Every year, World Environment Day adopts a theme, and this year's theme is "biodiversity." The goal is to combat species loss and degradation of the natural world. That's a huge goal considering humans are responsible for the one million plant and animal species at risk of extinction, and humans are the only ones who can reverse or slow that damage by recognizing and becoming participants in conservation of biodiversity.
Here is how countries as well as individual communities can conserve biodiversity and combat degradation of the natural world:
• invest and policies that focus on investments in “nature’s infrastructure” for climate regulation: our wetlands, forests and mangroves
• keep wild spaces wild, stop deforestation and restore degraded land to protect biodiversity, boost food production and store carbon
• make agriculture biodiversity positive
• integrate natural infrastructure with built infrastructure to reduce climate impacts and bring biodiversity back
• back sustainable production and consumption to conserve the planet’s resources
• end fossil fuel subsidies and making renewable energy the future
• retrofit our built infrastructure to be more energy efficient
• invest in public transport expansion and bicycle paths
These are no small tasks, but if all countries work together (obviously disregarding politicians who are not conservation-minded) we can achieve these goals and more.
Happy World Environment Day