World Environment Day – Reimagine, Recreate, Restore
On June 5, World Environment Day is celebrated, in order to sensitize the world population about the importance of caring for our ecosystems and promoting respect for the environment.
The date of this anniversary was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, coinciding with the beginning of the Stockholm Conference, whose main theme was precisely the environment.
The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is Ecosystem Restoration. Pakistan will serve as the global host, and the Day will be the framework for the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Ecosystem restoration can take many forms: planting trees, greening cities, reintroducing wild species to gardens, changing diets, or cleaning rivers and shores. This is the generation that can make peace with nature.
Since the following year, every June 5, World Environment Day is commemorated, an event whose main objective is to make the population aware of the importance of conserving nature, as well as to fight against climate change and the challenges that they pose like desertification, deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats that are home to a multitude of animal species.
Much has happened since that first World Environment Day and, although there are reasons for alarm that compel us not to lower our guard, there have also been many challenges that have been overcome in this almost half century.
Restoration Generation: Reimagine, Recreate, Restore
For too long, we have been exploiting and destroying the ecosystems of our planet. Every three seconds, the world loses an area of forest equivalent to a football field and, in the last century alone, we have destroyed half of our wetlands. 50% of our coral reefs have already been lost and by 2050, up to 90% could disappear, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5 ° C.
The loss of ecosystems is depriving the world of carbon sinks, such as forests and peatlands, at a time when humanity can no longer afford it. By reducing the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens, including coronaviruses, to spread.
Faced with this great problem, World Environment Day focuses on the restoration of ecosystems with the slogan “Reimagine, recreate, restore” for the year 2021.
COVID in the Environment
The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world is having devastating effects on consumer lives , global politics, and the global economy. A topic of discussion that seems to have been in the background for now is environmental impact. The impact of this virus is unprecedented in this century, yet the positive change it could lead to in the way consumers perceive and contribute to green initiatives.
The forced or voluntary confinement of a large part of the world’s population, coupled with the cessation of countless activities, suggests a moderation of human impact on the environment unprecedented in recent history. And although this idea has already generated the inevitable deceptions, such as the false news of the appearance of dolphins and swans in the canals of Venice , the truth is that there are reasons to consider whether we will notice an impact of the current crisis on the planet as a whole.
There is a possibility that all this oxygen balloon that Covid has fostered in the environment ends up being punctured, as the world could begin to make up for lost time. For example, there is the possibility that consumers overcompensate by flying more and buying more. Therefore, the factories will produce in excess to satisfy the demand and this would be detrimental meaning a negative impact of Covid on the environment.
Impact on Wildlife
One of the most widespread measures that the governments of many countries have taken to curb the interpersonal contagion of COVID-19 is the mandatory or recommended use of masks. Due to this decision, the increase in the production and consumption of face masks around the world has caused a new environmental challenge.
Use and throw masks, disposable gloves, face shield and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are widely used by the public apart from the people who are fighting the pandemic. As they are not always disposed of correctly, environmentalists fear for wildlife and plastic pollution.
Single-use masks, like other types of disposable masks, are made of plastic. Also when they are thrown in the streets, if it rains, the masks and gloves will end up in the sea. Specifically, the fibers that compose them are polypropylene, polyester and rayon blends. According to research, many of these materials are reaching waterways, increasing the presence of plastic in the aquatic environment .
OceansAsia , a non-governmental organization that promotes defense and research of the marine environment, already warned of the presence of disposable masks in the Hong Kong ocean in February 2020. The fact that face masks have become the new environmental garbage is proof that the pandemic is not serving to make people more aware of their actions with respect to nature.
“A common hygienic mask, abandoned in a natural environment, can take between 300 and 400 years to degrade.”
World Environment Day Requires a Global Effort
Within the framework of the celebration of World Environment Day, efforts should be focused on motivating people and communities, so that they become active agents of sustainable development and environmental protection.
Human beings should share and pursue the goal of improving the environment. That is why people are invited to improve their consumption habits. For companies to develop more ecological models. Governments to protect wilderness areas. For teachers to educate in natural values. To young people to speak out for the future of the planet. Protecting the environment requires everyone’s support.
“What we are doing to the world’s forest is a mirror of what we do to ourselves and to others” – Mahatma Gandhi
The change is not only in governments or in companies, from home we can also contribute, all our actions have consequences on the sustainability of natural resources and the health of the Earth. Let us remember that small actions generate big changes if we all become aware of this and do it consistently.
The idea is to carry out small acts, which together, join a great campaign in favor of our planet and give rise to great changes, that is why we invite you to apply these actions that can contribute to caring for the environment:
- Save energy. Turn off all the lights that you are not needing in your home.
- Consume environmentally friendly brands.
- Use ecological and biodegradable products.
- Recycle the trash. Basic but effective, recycling waste properly can generate great benefits for the planet.
- Control your water consumption. For example, reduce the use of the shower to a maximum of 10 minutes and avoid leaving the tap running when you brush your teeth.
- Swap incandescent bulbs for savers. These types of bulbs have a greater margin of useful life and take care of your pocket.
- Optimize the use of paper. Try to use the sheets on both sides and use recycled paper.
- It promotes clean and smart mobility. If you are going to travel short distances, use the bicycle or walk; In the workplace, if one or more people share the same route on the way home, try sharing a single car.
- Teach your close ones to appreciate nature. Share information of interest about the environment to get an idea of how you can contribute to better care for it.
Year 2021: Re-imagine, recover, restore
A central theme related to the environment is chosen annually to commemorate this World Day.
In the year 2021 the central theme is “Reimagine, recover, restore” . We can contribute to the environment and make peace with nature. In order to prevent climate catastrophe, reduce environmental pollution and stop the loss of biodiversity:
- Growing trees in our town, to green our cities and our spaces.
- Repopulating our gardens with wild species.
- Changing the way we eat.
- Cleaning rivers and coasts.
This is precisely why it is important that initiatives like this continue to exist that serve to remind us, even if only once a year, that we have a responsibility to the environment that we cannot ignore. The Earth does not understand policies or roadmaps, we are solely responsible for caring for the only planet that is home to all our species and all forms of life that we know.
Perhaps, in the future, our lifestyle will allow environmental problems to be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, we will have to continue working with initiatives that serve to educate new generations in respect for nature and in the adoption of sustainable habits that allow our passage through this planet not to destroy but to create.
And you, what are you going to do to celebrate World Environment Day?
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