World Environment Day is a global event organized by UNEP (UN Environment Programme). The main objective of organizing this event is to spread awareness across the globe about environmental protection.
World environment day was celebrated the first time in 1974 and from then we celebrate it on 5th June every year. This campaign is an excellent platform to reach the world population to encourage them to take action for environmental protection.
You can also be a part of this global event by raising awareness about environmental issues and its preventive measures. You can follow this article to get more information about the success story of world environment day from its beginning to date.
Table of Contents
History of World Environment Day
In 1972, 113 countries took part in the Stockholm Conference to discuss environmental issues like global warming, greenhouse effects, etc. After the conference, it was recommended that the UN General Assembly should designate 5th June as world environment day. It was first celebrated on 5th June 1974 from where it got success to become one of the big global events.
The main focus was given on raising awareness about environmental issues like environmental pollution, global warming, marine pollution, climate change, etc. Awareness is the most important weapon to fight against environmental issues to save mother Earth.
From the beginning of “World Environment Day”, every year millions of people unite with this global platform to make it successful. It has been more than 40 years of celebrating world environment day on 5th June every year with great enthusiasm to protect the world.
A highlight of the journey and history of world environment day from 1974 is quite interesting to look at the success we have achieved –
- In 1974, world environment day was celebrated on 5th June for the first time with the slogan “Only One Earth”.
- In 1977, the UN Environment focused on raising awareness about ozone layer depletion for the first time and declared it as an environmental issue.
- Year 1979, the world was celebrating its 6th world environment day which is also known as Echo Day. This year the awareness was spread for the necessary actions to be taken for environment protection.
- In 1981, the attention of this event was drawn on another environmental issue i.e. presence of harmful toxic chemicals in groundwater and the food chain.
Followed to the awareness about toxic chemicals, the Government Council of the UN Environment has adopted the Montevideo Programme. The main agenda of this program was to make laws and international agreements to restrict the number of harmful chemicals and contaminants.
- In 1986, plantation of trees was the theme of the world environmental day celebration. Plantation of trees has always been important to protect the environment.
The constant success of world environment day was able to grab the attention of the political & religious leaders across the world. Many political leaders came forward to take part in this global event by planting trees to take one important step for environmental protection. For example – French President Francois Mitterrand, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
- In 1987, we celebrated the 14th world environment day worldwide. This year UN Environment hosted the campaign in Nairobi, Kenya which is also its headquarter.
UN Environment also presented its first award to environmental champions such as Wangari Maathai. Presenting awards was a very good initiative taken by UN Environment to encourage the environment activities worldwide.
- In 1988, the theme of the incredible event celebration was “When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last”. This year Bangkok, Thailand also took part in the celebration of this worldwide campaign that seems like a movement to rotate around the globe.
- In 1989, the celebrations of world environment day were hosted in Brussels, Belgium just after a year the Intergovernmental Panel was established. In 1989, the celebrations of the global event were mainly focused on global warming.
- Year 1992, world environment day was hosted in Rio de Janeiro during Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development). The participating countries took part in the Earth Summit to discuss sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, etc.
- In 1993, Beijing, China was the host for the global campaign. The main purpose of the celebration this year was to spread awareness among the world’s populous countries.
After 1993, the hosting of World Environment Day once again returned to China in the year 2002 in Shenzhen city.
- In 1995, South Africa was the hosting country for the world environment day celebration. Nelson Mandela was the president at that time who played an important role in spreading international awareness to protect the environment.
- In 1996, the world environment day was held in Ankara, Turkey. UN Environment had presented a posthumous Global 500 award to a Nigerian activist Ken Daro-Wiwa.
- In 1998, the pollution of the marine ecosystem was first time highlighted on world environment day. Moscow, Russia was the host city of this event in 1998.
- In 2000, another achievement was gained in the form of launching a website of world environment day. The objective of the website is to encourage people to register their activities across the globe. The event was conducted in Adelaide, Australia setting the next Millennium Development Goals.
- In 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan used this platform to launch the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. In support of World Environment Day in 2001 different festivities were celebrated in various cities across the world like Italy, Cuba, Torino, Havana, etc.
- Year 2003, the UN Environment used this campaign to raise awareness about one of the most sensitive issue i.e. save water. In this year the host for the event was Beirut, Lebanon.
- In 2005, the event was hosted by North America for the first time. San Francisco has organized hundreds of events to take the campaign to another level.
- In 2006, the world environment day was celebrated in Algeria as a reminder to fight against desertification of the land around the world.
- In 2007, the host for the campaign was Norway. This year the world’s attention was drawn to melting ice and for the three consecutive years, the emphasis was given on climate change.
- In 2010, wildlife was able to grab the attention of the UN Environment. In 2010 US$85,000 was raised for the conservation of gorilla. The host country of the campaign this year was Rwanda. Rwanda thanked the initiative of the campaign to provide solar lighting in many villages across the country.
- In 2011, it was the first time when an actor “Don Cheadle” also participated actively in the event to attract many online followers. Also, more than 4,000 different activities were registered across the world.
- In 2012, World Environment Day came back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil once again. The event got successful to achieve a new record by having more than 4.25 million visits on its website.
- In 2013, It was held in Mongolia. The main focus was on reducing ecological effects of food production.
- In 2014, the UN Environment draws attention to raise awareness about the island nations close to danger due to the harmful effects of climate change.
- Year 2015, Milan, Italy was the host for the event this year. In support of world environment day various countries had uploaded more than 500 videos on YouTube.
- Year 2016, the UN Environment took international wildlife crimes on serious notes. The host country Angola took a promise to control the trading of elephant ivory. China also committed to wind up its domestic ivory market.
- In 2017, the impressive profile of world environment day succeeded to motivate more than 1800 campaigns across the globe. This year Canada was the host for the event. The prime minister of Canada also joins UN Environment’s Erik Solheim to be a part of the event.
- In 2018, plastic pollution became a huge environmental issue by the time we reached 45th World Environmental Day. India was the host country for the first time. Leading to the celebrations approximately 90,000 kg plastic was collected at Versova Beach, Mumbai. Followed to this, Indian Govt. also committed to banning almost all the single-use plastic to prevent up to 70% marine pollution by 2022.
- In 2019, by this time air pollution has become an alarming issue for the environment. This year the World Environment Day was held in China. More than 100 countries had participated in this global event to spread more awareness about the health of the planet.
World Environment Day Themes
- World Environment Day theme of 1974- “Only One Earth during Expo 74”
- WED theme of 1975- Human Settlements”
- Theme of 1976- Water: Vital Resource for Life”
- Theme for 1977- “Ozone Layer Environment Concern; Land Loss and Soil Degradation”
- WED theme of 1978- “Development without Destruction”
- Theme of 1979- “Only One Future for Our Children”
- WED theme for 1980- “A New Challenge for the New Decade: Development without Destruction”
- Theme of 1981- “Ground Water; Toxic Chemicals in Human Food Chains”
- WED theme of 1982-: Ten Year after Stockholm (Renewal of Environmental Concerns)”
- Theme of 1983- “Managing and Disposing Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and Energy”
- WED theme of 1884- “Desertification”
- Theme of 1985- “Youth: Population and the Environment”
- WED theme of 1986- “A Tree of Peace”
- Theme of 1987- “Environment and Shelter: More Than A Roof”
- WED theme for 1988- “When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last”
- World Environment Day theme of 1989- “Global Warming; Global Warning”
- WED theme of 1990- “Children and The Environment”
- Environment day theme of 1991- “Climate Change. Need for Global Partnership”
- WED theme of 1992- “Only One Earth, Care, and Share”
- Theme of 1993- “Poverty and the Environment”
- WED theme of 1994- “One Earth One Family”
- Theme of 1995- “We the People: United for the Global Environment”
- WED theme of 1996- “Our Earth, Our Habitat, Our Home”
- Theme of 1997- “For Life on Earth”
- WED theme of 1998- “For Life on Earth with Slogan Save Our Seas”
- Theme of 1999- “Our Earth- Our Future”
- WED theme of 2000- “The Environment Millennium”
- Theme of 2001- “Connect with the World Wide Web of Life”
- WED theme of 2002– “Give Earth a Chance”
- Theme of 2003- “Water with slogan Two Billion People are Dying for it”
- WED theme of 2004- “Wanted! Seas and Ocean”
- Theme of 2005- “Green Cities”
- WED theme of 2006- “Deserts and Desertification”
- Theme of 2007- “Melting Ice- a Hot Topic”
- WED theme of 2008- “CO2, Kick the Habit- Towards a Low Carbon Economy”
- Theme of 2009- “Your Planet Needs You- Unite to Combat Climate Change”
- World Environment Day theme of 2010- “Many Species. One Planet. One Future”
- WED theme of 2011- “Forest: Nature at your Services”
- WED theme of 2012- “Green Economy: Does it include you”
- Theme of 2013- “Think. Eat. Save.”
- WED theme of 2014- “Small Island Developing States” OR “SIDS” and “Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level”
- Theme of 2015- “One World, One Environment”
- WED theme of 2016- “Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in Wildlife”
- Theme of 2017- “Connecting People to Nature”
- Theme of 2018- “Beat Plastic Pollution”
- WED theme of 2019- “Air Pollution”
World Environment Day 2020 Theme
This year, the world is enthusiastic to celebrate world environment day with a lot of ambitions and expectations.
The 2020 theme for the global event will be based on “biodiversity”. Colombia is the hosting country for the worldwide campaign in cooperation with Germany.
This year more than 143 countries will be participating in world environment day. In support of world environment day 2020, the 15th meeting of COP 15 (Conference of Parties) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity will be held in China.
How can we celebrate World Environment Day?
World Environment Day 2020 is about protecting the environment. As it related to mother Earth then why just wait specifically for this day to take action for environmental protection. We should cooperate in this event just by adopting a few things all year round, such as –
- Plant more and more trees. Support afforestation and reforestation.
- Stop using plastic if not at least omit single-use plastic from your lifestyle.
- Give preference to carpooling and public transport to control pollution.
- Do efforts to save water as much as you can for our future generations.
- Implement 3R’s (Reduce, Refuse, Reuse) to minimize the amount of waste.
- Prefer to buy environment-friendly products.
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances.
- You can also plan your own event to support world environment day like cleaning up the sea beaches, surroundings, etc.
- You can use social media as a platform to promote this global event and also the awareness about environmental issues and its preventive measures.
- People can also participate in the World Environment Day events by visiting the website here.
- Keep equilibrium between supply and demand of resources as resources are limited and hence focus on doing optimum utilization of resources.
World Environment Day is a vital campaign to raise awareness about environmental problems and environmental sustainability. Everyone should participate in this important environmental event to protect mother Earth.
Share this article with family and friends and let them know about this incredible global event. If you have any more ideas do reply below.