World Environment Day is the greatest yearly event for the sake of the environment. It is celebrated every year on 5th June in order to create awareness about the environment and its conservation. 143 countries participate in this global event every year. World Environment Day is also referred to as Eco Day and Environment Day.
What is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day is a day on which governments, communities, organizations, and individuals from all over the world increase awareness among people about the necessity of protecting our environment and its resources. The main idea behind the introduction of the World Environment Day is to enlighten and educate people about their role in keeping the environment clean and livable.
World Environment Day is not just a day to create public awareness. It is also a day for environmental advocates and conservationists for celebrating their success after working hard throughout the year in order to make the world a better place to live in for all of us. It urges human beings belonging to different communities, social backgrounds, professions, religions, states, and countries to be united for the sake of protecting the environment. So, this day is for everyone from everywhere.
History of the World Environment Day
The UN General Assembly established the World Environment Day or WED in the year 1972 as a part of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program). On the very first day of the famous Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the decision was taken for the establishment of World Environment Day. Two years after this conference, World Environment Day was observed for the first time, in 1974.
The theme of the first World Environment Day was “Only One Earth.” Till 1987, World Environment Day was celebrated every year in the United Nations with a different theme each time. From 1987, the center of activities keeps rotating every year. This means that different countries get to host the event on this special day in which environmental issues are discussed.
‘World Environment Day’ Themes
Every year, World Environment Day has a unique theme on which activities and events are focused. Some of the popular themes are “Only One Earth” (1974), “Water: Vital Resource for Life” (1976), “Desertification” (1984), “Global Warming; Global Warning” (1989), “Our Earth – Our Future – Just Save It!” (1999), “Give Earth a Chance” (2002), “Melting Ice-A Hot Topic?” (2007), “Forests: Nature at your Service” (2011) and “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife trade” (2016).
Sylhet, Ontario, Dhaka, Islamabad, Mexico City, London, Torino, Tokyo, Adelaide, Rome, Ottawa, and New Delhi are some of the cities that have hosted World Environment Day.
World Environment Day 2017
In 2017, Canada hosted the World Environment Day. “Connecting People to Nature- in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator” was the theme of the 2017 WED. Its aim was to remind people about the strong connection between nature and human beings. The theme implored people to appreciate nature’s beauty and bounty, to be one with nature. The main idea was to motivate people to think about how deeply we are dependent on nature.
World Environment Day 2018
In 2018, World Environment Day’s global host in India. Prior to this India has hosted World Environment Day one more time in the year 2011. The theme of 2011 WED was “Forests: Nature at Your Service.” The main event took place in New Delhi and it was a success.
The Indian Government is looking forward to promoting World Environment Day through fruitful events and activities inviting public interest as well as participation. India is about to set an example on this day by organizing plastic clean-up activities in public places, forests, beaches, and national reserves.
In order to reduce worldwide pollution caused by the use of plastic, the theme of this year is “Beat Plastic Pollution.” The theme urges industries, communities, governments, and individuals to join hands and find out recyclable alternatives to plastic. Plastic pollution is not only affecting human health but also polluting the oceans and destroying marine life.
Your responsibilities on World Environment Day
As inhabitants of the earth, it is our responsibility to take ownership of the environment we live in and actively contribute to the protection and preservation of the earth and its resources. Here is a list of some of the things that you can do on 5th June as a responsible citizen of the world.
- Clean up trash in your locality.
- Take a vow with your family to conserve energy by reducing electricity bills.
- Plant saplings in your neighborhood.
- Consume organic food on this day. You can prepare a meal with locally grown vegetables.
- Collect litters on roads along with your friends
- Organize an educational platform in your locality to discuss international environmental issues. Invite renowned people of the area to voice their opinions on crucial matters related to the environment.
- Do not contribute to causing air pollution for one day by leaving your car/ bike and take the help of your legs or a bicycle to reach your destination.
- Put on green clothes to show your love and respect for nature and Mother Earth.
- Like we all make different New Year resolutions, promise yourself on World Environment Day that you will try to be sensitive towards the environment by doing environment- friendly things.
The importance of World Environment Day
Without public interest and awareness about the harmful effects of human activities on the environment, it is impossible to bring about positive changes. World Environment Day is not just about being environment- friendly for one particular day. On this day commitments are made that are to be followed the whole year. Environmentalists from several countries meet and discuss crucial issues related to the government and possible measures to save the environment.
We need to contribute every day to the protection of our environment and its resources not only for ourselves but also for our future generations. Only then the World Environment day will be a success.
Greenpeace: An Organization Devoted To Saving The Environment
Greenpeace is one of the leading non-government organizations promoting and practicing environmentalism. Dorothy Stowe and Irving Stowe founded it in the year 1971 in Vancouver. Through its global coordinating body is in the city of Amsterdam, currently, Greenpeace has offices in more than 55 countries like India, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Greece, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc.
Goal of Greenpeace
Greenpeace defines its goal in the following words: “To ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity.” It organizes campaigns on environmental issues of worldwide concern such as overfishing, climate change, genetic engineering, deforestation, anti-nuclear matters, and commercial whaling. It takes the help of ecotage, research, lobbying, and direct action for achieving its short-term and long-term goals.
Greenpeace explains its mission on its official website in the following words:
- Preserve biodiversity of the planet in all its diverse forms
- Take measures for stopping global warming to prevent the severe aftermaths of climate breakdown
- Promote and support the usage of renewable sources of energy
- Nurture non-violence and peace
History of origin of Greenpeace
The U.S. planned to conduct an underground test on nuclear weapons in the 1960s in Amchitka Island. Concerns arose that this experiment might result in earthquakes or even a tsunami. 7000 people protested, but the U.S. did not retreat. But, the next time the opposition grew firmer as the U.S. wanted to test a bomb at least five times more dangerous than the former one. Jim Bohlen, a war veteran, Dorothy Stowe, and Irving Stowe were among major opponents.
Irving Stowe arranged a benefit concert in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on the 1970’s October 16th. The concert raised the funds for the pioneering Greenpeace campaign.
Early battle of Greenpeace against environmental pollution:
Greenpeace deserves credit for being one of the first initiators behind the formulation of sustainable development in 1993. As rightly stated by sociologists Christine Dasnoy and Marc Mormount, Greenpeace raised public awareness regarding issues like global warming. It was also among the major participants discussing ozone depletion in the Montreal Protocol.
Greenpeace has also protested on several occasions against coal mining operations and shipment of coal in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Svalbard. It also criticizes petroleum extraction and has successfully blocked projects at Canada’s Athabasca oil sands.
- Greenpeace and the anti-nuclear campaign:
Greenpeace also published a newspaper advertisement in 1994 claiming that nuclear power Sellafield will take the life of 2000 humans in 10 years, affecting mostly children. It stated nuclear power as expensive, polluting, non-renewable, and dangerous. The advantages of nuclear power are far less when compared to health hazards. In fact, the test of nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan has made nearly 10,000 people suffer for three generations.
- A summary of forest campaign by Greenpeace
Greenpeace intends to protect primary forests from their greatest enemy, deforestation. It has accused leading corporations like Nike, McDonald’s, KFC, Unilever, Kit Kat, etc. for having close connection to deforestation activities in tropical rainforest regions. Several companies have been forced to revise their policies.
One instance of the success of the organization’s initiatives is its protests against Nestle company’s Kit Kat bars made with the help of palm oil. Greenpeace released a video that became viral with more than 1 million views. This compelled Nestle to promise to the public to shun the usage of palm oil in the future.
- “Save the Arctic” campaign
The “Save the Arctic” campaign started in 2012 for stopping gas and oil drilling, military operations, and industrial fishing in the Arctic region. Greenpeace demanded that steps must be taken to protect the ecosystem and vulnerable wildlife.
Greenpeace and its current environmental works:
At present, Greenpeace looks at global warming as the greatest threat to the environment of the Earth.
- It has given an ultimatum to industrialized countries for reducing their emission of greenhouse gases by 40 percent in 2020.
- It has also offered financial help to developing countries for building renewable energy capacity.
- Another strong point stressed by Greenpeace is stopping deforestation of forest lands and planting trees in large numbers.
- Greenpeace has joined hands with EREC to fulfill its vision of creating a world with 80 percent of the total energy requirement that will be produced from sustainable sources like sun, water, wind, etc.
Acid Rain: Reasons, Impacts, And Solutions
The Environmental Protection Agency defines acid rain as acid deposition that includes all types of precipitation containing acidic elements like nitric acid or sulfuric acid. Other than raindrops, the precipitation can also be in the form of hail, fog, gases, snow, or dust. Acid rain created with gases or dust is known as dry deposition.
Robert Angus Smith, a Scottish chemist coined the term in 1852. The Royal Society of Chemistry honored him as the ‘Father of Acid Rain.’ Smith, while examining the contents found in rainwater in industrial regions of Scotland and England, coined this term. He published a book about it in 1872, namely, “Air and Rain: The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology.”
The reason behind formation of acid deposition:
When compounds such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide get mixed with air, a chemical reaction takes place. These substances rise high into the earth’s atmosphere, mix with oxygen, other chemicals, and water, giving birth to acidic pollutants. When rain, laden with such impurities fall to the land, we call it acid rain.
Which are the places mainly affected by acid rain?
Places around the globe that have suffered most because of acid rain are the south-eastern part of Canada, Scandinavia, Poland, the eastern part of the U.S. along with some parts of Taiwan and China.
The ecosystem consists of plants, humans, animals, and various other organisms that depend on each other and the environment. Everything has a direct or indirect connection to other components. So, if something causes harm to a particular part of a place’s ecosystem, species, the water, and the soil also have to face the consequences. Let us find out about acid rain’s negative impacts.
- Marine pollution- Acid rain’s ecological effects are clearly visible in the marine environment. Aquatic animals, especially fish suffer immensely. Most of the eggs of fish fail to hatch as the young eggs are extremely sensitive.
- Episodic Acidification- Heavy rain and melting snow can be the causative agents of episodic acidification. Lakes, usually not having high acidity levels, end up with greater portions of acidic deposition due to downpours or melting snow. A wide range of organisms gets killed in this type of situation.
- Harming trees and plants- In areas prone to acid rain, dying and dead trees are not a rare sight. Acid rain can lean the soil’s aluminum and also remove nutrients and minerals from the soil. This stunts the growth of trees, making them weak. Acidic clouds and fog also strip nutrients from the foliage of trees, leaving dead needles and brown leaves. The trees then face difficulty in absorbing sunlight that is essential for preparing food.
- Nitrogen pollution- Apart from being acidic in nature, nitrogen is also present in acid rain. Nitrogen pollution in coastal regions is responsible for the rapid decline in the population of fish species.
- Buffering capacity- Many streams, lakes, and forests experiencing acid rain get saved from severe effects as the soil has the capability to buffer the rain-laden with acids. As the soil neutralizes the rainwater’s acidity, the acid accumulates and remains in the soil, lakes, and streams, posing more threat in the future.
- Damage of wildlife- Many animals can be naturally more sensitive to acid than others. Frogs, salamanders, and birds have died due to exposure to acidic rain in big cities. Insects depending on phytoplankton for sustenance also die. Mammals who eat fish and vegetables affected by acid rain indirectly endure the outcomes.
How is acid rain damaging the Indian historical monuments?
Acid rain is corrosive to marble and limestone materials. The majestic ancient monuments that are cultural assets to India have suffered immensely due to acid rain. The Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Victoria Memorial, Red Fort, Ellora Caves, Jama Masjid are some of those monuments.
Solutions to acid rain:
There are various measures that we can take for stopping human-made acid deposition:
- Regulating vehicular and industrial emissions can make a huge difference.
- People should increase dependence on renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power, thus lessening the burning of fossil fuels.
- Also, every individual can play his part in decreasing the environmental pollution. You can switch to public transportation, riding, and walking whenever possible instead of relying on your private vehicle.
Independent Travel & Ecology: What You Need To know
For most people, independent travel is more than just a fun activity or a holiday. It is a life-changing activity or experience. Whether you are taking off around the world after retirement, taking a gap year, or simply heading off on your mid-20s career break, independent travel offers you the opportunity to take a break from your ‘normal’ work life, travel around the world, and get unforgettable experiences. Also, traveling independently teaches you a lot about different parts of the world and yourself.
What’s independent travel?
It is any trip that you organize by yourself. That means you must book a hotel (accommodation), plan your itinerary, transport, and other aspects of your trip. The concept revolves around traveling on a shoe-string, spending nights in hostels, and choosing experiences over luxury. Independent travel requires you to be more of a traveler and less of a tourist.
Tourist vs. traveler
Most people use these words interchangeably. It might sound like a negligible distinction, but these two words signify a unique approach. The term ‘tourist’ often refers to a person visiting a specific area or region only for a short period before going back to their everyday life. It also relates to people who visit some destinations just to see exciting things without getting emotionally involved.
On the other hand, travelers spend a lot of time on the road and have less of a fixed objective in terms of timing and destinations. They can travel for an extended period, spend time gaining new experiences, and don’t rush to return to their everyday life. That means traveling is all about am exciting journey while tourism is all about seeing new things.
Travelers are more likely to stay in a single destination for a long time, perhaps working there. Some travelers end up settling in some of the regions they visit. Generally, the definition of a traveler emphasizes the journey rather than the excitement and pleasure associated with visiting new destinations.
The best places for independent travel
The world is your oyster, and in numerous ways, it is. Your choice of destination is influenced by many factors. Therefore, it’s important that you consider the following factors to ensure that you get the most out of your independent travel.
What do you plan to do? This might sound like an obvious question. But it’s the right one, to begin with. What experiences are you seeking? Do you desire to connect with like-minded travelers? Are you ready to spend quite some time away traveling and working?
Do you have enough time to travel? Well, there is little point in heading to Fiji if you have a 5-day holiday. This is because you will spend a lot of time to get to your destination and have little time to explore it.
Therefore, it’s worth working out the travel periods between your desired destination early enough. This will ensure you have enough time to see around and gain memorable experiences when you get to your destination.
How much money have you saved for your travel activities? Once you have decided on the specific experiences you seek and created a travel plan, it’s time you consider the financial aspect of your travel activities. Money is the single most significant constraint on most plans. It is worth working out a budget before you start booking flights.
How safe is your preferred travel destination? Well, it might sound like most questions asked by mums. However, nothing can ruin your trip more than getting robbed, beaten up, or being kidnapped. Therefore, you should make sure that you are traveling to a safe region.
Independent travel is more than just a fun activity
Traveling independently opens your mind to new and exciting possibilities. Indeed, it helps you learn more about how the planet, get lifetime memories and have a lot of fun. Just think about planning a long trip to Africa to learn more about social change through experiencing the journey and discovering what we have all lost touch with.
Kenzie Kersen, a 24-year-old American model looking to promote a positive message about eco-tourism, wildlife conservation, and other aspects of the environment. In partnership with Justin Cleaver, a reputable wildlife and fashion photographer from South African to produce an eBook in SA that will be a mix of cool fashion photography (all on film) and wildlife photography (also on film). The reason for incorporating fashion photography and a social media campaign into this story is again to pull the interest of the young generation.
These are some of the important initiatives that send a positive message about eco-tourism, independent travel, and the importance of environmental conservation to the world. Times are changing and planet earth needs our care. It’s time we start sending a positive message to the world like Kenzie and Justin are doing.
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