World Environment Day

World Environment Day is observed on 5th June every year, to raise awareness about deteriorating environmental situations and to inspire people all around the world to take good environmental activities to help create a brighter future. In this article, we are giving some important facts about World Environment Day which will be important for UPSC IAS Exam

Current affairs and General Knowledge is a crucial part of UPSC IAS Prelims as well as Mains examination. Without having thorough knowledge in Current affairs it is difficult to tackle the General Studies Paper-I in UPSC IAS Prelims Examination.

Latest Context on World Environment Day –

World Environment Day in 2022 was hosted by Sweden with support from the Government of Kenya. The day was celebrated with the theme: “Only One Earth,” with the emphasis on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature.”The theme emphasises the planet’s vulnerability and is intended to reinforce the concept that the Earth is humanity’s only home. The theme mirrors the theme of the first World Environment Day. 

Significance: The year 2022 is especially significant since it marks the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Stockholm summit in which World Environment was established. Stockholm+50 will serve as a contribution to accelerate action toward a more sustainable society, including a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • On the occasion of World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a presentation on the ‘Save Soil Movement‘ in New Delhi.
    • The Save Soil Movement is a global movement that raises awareness about decreasing soil health and inspires people to take action to repair soil. 
    • The Save Soil movement seeks to unite the ecologically concerned around soil protection, promoting the potential of individual acts to influence policy and public participation.
  • India also launched the ‘Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) Movement‘ on the occasion.
    • India proposed the concept of LiFE to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021.
    • The concept advocates an ecologically conscientious lifestyle that emphasises “mindful and intentional usage” rather than “mindless and wasteful consumption.” Read more about the LiFE Initiative in the linked article.
  • In his speech PM also mentioned India’s efforts to create green jobs’
    • Green jobs are occupations that have a direct positive influence on the environment and contribute to overall environmental welfare. Jobs involving renewable energy, resource conservation, and guaranteeing energy efficiency fall within this category. Overall, they attempt to reduce the negative environmental effect of economic sectors while also advancing the process of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
  • On this day, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs also launched a ‘Clean and Green’ campaign. Under this campaign, Urban Local Bodies around the nation organise awareness programmes as part of this effort to rid the country of single-use plastic and contribute to environmental improvement.

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World Environment Day – Overview

World Environment Day is observed on 5th June annually. It is the United Nation’s idea for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Here we are giving some interesting facts about World Environment Day.

  • World Environment Day was designated by the UN General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, resulting from negotiations on the integration of human interactions and the environment.
  • Then in 1974, the first World Environment Day was held with the theme “Only One Earth”.
  • Initially, it was started as a flagship campaign for raising awareness on budding environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
  • The aim of this day is to encourage people worldwide to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change.
  • World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually.

World Environment Day Anthem

  • The Earth Anthem was composed to sing in the event of World Environment Day.
  • It was composed by poet Abhay K, an Indian diplomat.
  • It was recorded in eight languages containing all official languages of the United Nations- Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
  • It is also recorded in Hindi and Nepali.
  • It was launched in the event of World Environment Day 2013.
  • It is supported by the global organization Habitat for Humanity.

World Environment Day Significance

  • World Environment Day highlights the crises that our planet is facing like climate change, loss of biodiversity and an increase in carbon emissions. Hence this day is a reminder of people’s power at the grass-root and community level to bring about positive change by making better choices individually and keeping a check on the government’s and corporations’ policies which damage our biosphere.
  • Since 1973, the day has been used to raise awareness and generate political momentum around growing environmental concerns, such as toxic chemical pollution, desertification and global warming. It has since grown into a global action platform, helping to drive change in consumption habits, as well as in national and international environmental policy.

The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.

Annual Themes and Host Countries

The table below gives brief details about the themes of World Environment Day and the nations that hosted it through the years:

Year Hosts Theme
1974 United States ‘Only one Earth’ during Expo ’74
1975 Bangladesh Human Settlements
1976 Canada Water: Vital Resource for Life
1977 Bangladesh Ozone Layer Environmental Concern; Lands Loss and Soil Degradation
1978 Bangladesh Development Without Destruction
1979 Bangladesh Only One Future for Our Children – Development Without Destruction
1980 Bangladesh A New Challenge for the New Decade: Development Without Destruction
1981 Bangladesh Ground Water; Toxic Chemicals in Human Food Chains
1982 Bangladesh Ten Years After Stockholm (Renewal of Environmental Concerns)
1983 Bangladesh Managing and Disposing of Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and Energy
1984 Bangladesh Desertification
1985 Pakistan Youth: Population and the Environment
1986 Canada A Tree for Peace
1987 Kenya Environment and Shelter: More Than A Roof
1988 Thailand When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last
1989 Belgium Global Warming; Global Warning
1990 Mexico Children and the Environment
1991 Sweden Climate Change. Need for Global Partnership
1992 Brazil Only One Earth, Care, and Share
1993 China Poverty and the Environment – Breaking the Vicious Circle
1994 United Kingdom One Earth One Family
1995 South Africa We the Peoples: United for the Global Environment
1996 Turkey Our Earth, Our Habitat, Our Home
1997 Republic of Korea For Life on Earth
1998 Russian For Life on Earth – Save Our Seas
1999 Japan Our Earth – Our Future – Just Save It!
2000 Australia The Environment Millennium – Time to Act
2001 Torino, Italy and Havana, Cuba Connect with the World Wide Web of Life
2002 China Give Earth a Chance
2003 Lebanon Water – Two Billion People are Dying for It!
2004 Spain Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?
2005 United States Green Cities – Plan for the Planet!
2006 Algeria Deserts and Desertification – Don’t Desert Drylands!
2007 England Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?
2008 New Zealand Kick The Habit – Towards A Low Carbon Economy
2009 Mexico Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change
2010 Bangladesh Many Species. One Planet. One Future
2011 India Forests: Nature at your Service
2012 Brazil Green Economy: Does it include you?
2013 Mongolia Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Foodprint
2014 Barbados Raise your voice, not the sea level
2015 Italy Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.
2016 Angola Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife trade
2017 Canada Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator
2018 India Beat Plastic Pollution
2019 China Beat Air Pollution
2020 Colombia in partnership with Germany Biodiversity – focus on time for nature
2021 Pakistan Ecosystem Restoration
2022 Sweden Only one Earth ( Same as the theme of the first World Environment Day)

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Environment Day 2020 was celebrated digitally. Recently there was massive damage to biodiversity due to bushfires in Australia, the USA and Brazil. There was also a massive problem across East Africa due to locusts. Hence the theme of World Environment Day 2020 focused on time for nature.

World Environment Day 2021 – Pakistan hosted World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The theme of the World Environment Day was ‘ecosystem restoration’ and focussed on resetting our relationship with nature.

On this day the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2030 was also launched. Go through the details on the Destruction of Ecosystem on the linked page.

  1. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction.
  2. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. Know in detail about the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs on the given link.
  3. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future.

Candidates can find the general pattern of the UPSC Civil Service Exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page.

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