June 5 is World Environment Day. The mission of the day is to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. Since its inception, it has grown exponentially and brought tons of exposure to environmental issues.
In 1972, the UN General Assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day. That same day they also created the UN Environment. The first World Environment Day was celebrated 2 years later, with the theme “Only One Earth.”
From 1974-1992, World Environment Day’s profile began to grow and official celebrations began to pop up around the world. During this time, the day also focused on new emerging environmental issues such as climate change and sustainable development.
Over the next 10 years, countries, such as Russia, Japan and China began hosting the official celebration of World Environment Day. As the internet emerged and became accessible to many around the world, World Environment Day took their campaign to the web.
From early 2000’s until today, the campaign has gone viral. Countries like Angola, United States, Rwanda, and Lebanon have all acted as hosts. Due to the increase of online presence, the campaign was able to spread to more people than ever before. Globally, volunteers have put together thousands of community activities to celebrate the day.
In 2017, Canada will host the official celebrations under the theme “Connecting People to Nature.” The mission behind the theme implores people to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.
There are many ways you can get involved with World Environment Day. First, you can search for celebration activities in your area. If you are busy, and unable to volunteer, World Environment Day wants you to spread awareness through your social media. Post a photo or a video of your favorite place in nature with #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature and explain why it’s your favorite place. The goal of the social media campaign is create world’s biggest nature photo album. Finally, get outside and explore. UN Environment has team up with the app “iNaturalists.” The app allows you to record what biodiversity you find around you, right in your backyard. All of those observations will be shared with scientific data repositories to help scientists find and use your data.