World Environment Day
By Gracy Singh
The World Environment Day which is celebrated every year on June 5, marks the commitment of humanity to protect the environment. It is an internationally recognized day which aims at educating people on environmental issues and their responsibility towards mother nature. More than 143 countries become a part of this celebration and they dedicate their efforts and service towards nature. Given the rise of environmental concerns being a global problem, the issue of environment requires global cooperation of both the Global North and the Global South.
The collaborative efforts of the Global North and the Global South have never been very syncretic as both have found opportunities to blame each other as agents of causing environmental damage. The Global South which consists mainly of the third world countries has often claimed that it is the past and present industrial development taken up by the Global North which has resulted in environmental damage. Hence, they have more responsibility for amending it. This gave rise to the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’. The North has suggested that third world countries such as India and China have increased their industrial strength and are no more developing countries, hence, they must not be exempted from the Kyoto Protocol. Given this situation at the International level where countries are finding it difficult to keep their industrial interests aside, we need to focus on our duties as humans to protect the nature. Thus, the role of coming together on World Environment Day becomes very important.
This year the World Environment Day will be hosted by Columbia in partnership with Germany. The United Nations Environment Program announced that this year the theme will be ‘Biodiversity’.This particular day is the prime vehicle for the UN to increase awareness and action to protect our environment. It serves as a global platform for public outreach on the matters of the environment. This day can be celebrated in numerous ways, the main aim is that every person must do something to raise awareness on the issue of environment and do their bit no matter how small it may be, in reducing environmental damage. Some of the popular activities include campaigns, marathons, quizzes, sensitizing the locals about environmental protection, theatre performances, dance, etc.
Last year the theme focused on “Preventing Air Pollution”. This year, the focus is on biodiversity. This particular theme has been chosen in the wake of the alarming damage that has been caused to biodiversity and the goal is to incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action. Biodiversity refers to the wide variety of life that is found on earth which includes plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, etc.
The Earth has very rich biodiversity and many of its species are yet to be discovered. However, biodiversity appears to be under a grave threat due to various human activities such as population growth, resource consumption, climate change, global warming, habitat conversion and urbanization. All these dangers have largely affected the biodiversity, many species have become extinct and many others are on the verge of extinction. As a result, scientists and ecologists all over the world are concerned that if the present trend continues, the harmful changes in the biodiversity are ultimately going to affect the balance of the food chain.
Several steps have been taken for the conservation of biodiversity, which encompasses- breeding programs to preserve the endangered species like the panda, construction of new habitats, replanting hedgerows, reducing deforestation, the release of greenhouse gases, etc. The issue of greenhouse gases has been linked to the industrial activities and the high carbon emission which has resulted in global warming. Hence, several international protocols have also been signed in the wake of the same.
The theme of this year invites us all to consider how we can make changes to our everyday lives to draw attention for restoring the biodiversity which otherwise appears to be under grave threat due to human activities. We are at the verge of mass extinction as the species are disappearing at a very high rate. We need to restore nature but for that, we need to realize the importance of nature for our existence, this involves recognizing the interdependence between humans and various other species. This year concludes the United Nations decade on biodiversity, thereby, it is a very crucial time for us to realize the importance of living in harmony with mother nature. The scientific community is ringing the alarming bell of a global biodiversity breakdown. Therefore, we all need to actively participate in this initiative and reverse biodiversity loss. We need to take small steps toward the use of sustainable products along with pressuring local authorities to improve green spaces.