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World Environment Day 2022

World Environment Day 2022

The 5th of June was designated as World Environment Day by the UN in 1972. The first full celebrations began in 1974 and it is now marked annually with the aim of raising awareness about the environmental issues facing the planet. Millions of people worldwide join together to advocate for environmental action, with businesses, non-governmental organisations and governments all involved.

The event focuses on a different theme each year. Past themes include biodiversity, plastic pollution and marine ecosystems. The theme for 2022 revives the very first event’s slogan of ‘Only One Earth’; this is our only home, and we have to keep fighting to protect it.

A different city or country hosts the official celebrations each year. This year, Sweden is host in recognition of the fact that it is 50 years since the UN conference in Stockholm that first designated World Environment Day. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was set up at the same time. The programme aims to lead the fight for environmental action and enable countries and populations to bring about change.

Environmental Threats

World Environment Day is more important now than ever before due to the range of threats our planet faces, including the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and pollution.

World Environment Day 2022

The climate crisis has a profound affect on our planet and risks causing irreparable damage to its ecosystems. An increase in extreme weather events, ocean acidification, soil degradation, food and water insecurity and sea level rises have all been caused by rising temperatures, Increased political and social unrest is also likely as competition for shrinking resources grows. And we risk losing species with temperature-defined ranges to extinction, such as the ptarmigan below.

World environment day 2022 ptarmigan

Experts estimate that the rate of species extinction is currently between 1,000 and 10,000 times greater than the natural extinction rate. This is the rate species would go extinct without humans. The estimate covers such a broad range because we can’t be sure exactly how many species are out there in the first place. It is extremely likely that some species have gone extinct before we even knew they existed. This loss of biodiversity is sometimes referred to as the ‘sixth mass extinction’.

World environment day 2022

Some might think that the fight against pollution was won following actions such as the banning of DDT in the UK in the eighties, and various updates to the Clean Air Act over the years from 1956 onwards. However, there has been a huge increase in chemical production since 1950, chemicals that damage ecosystems and kill species indiscriminately. Added to that is plastic pollution. Researchers have found plastics on Everest, in the Antarctic and even in our own organs.

World environment day 2022

Getting Involved

Anyone can get involved in World Environment Day. Whether you are an individual, a business, an educator or a member of a community group, the official website has lots of ideas. You could make a commitment to litter-pick in your local area, plant trees, get rid of single use plastics in the workplace or invest in ethical projects. Whatever action you take will be contributing to an important global movement. The aim of the day, after all, is to show that we can all, from one person to whole governments, make a difference.