The World Environment Day will be observed today in Bangladesh and elsewhere across the globe to encourage people to take collective and transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet and its environment.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a message marking the day.
"Close to half of humanity is already in the climate danger zone – 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts such as extreme heat, floods and drought. There is a 50:50 chance that annual average global temperatures will breach the Paris Agreement limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next five years. More than 200 million people each year could be displaced by climate disruption by 2050," he added in the message.
While stating about the way out, he said that the governments need urgently to prioritize climate action and environmental protection through policy decisions that promote sustainable progress.
Sweden is this year’s World Environment Day host. The theme of the day is Only One Earth, focusing on the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature.
It is a nod to 1972’s UN Conference on the Human Environment which was held in Sweden and a reminder that the planet’s resources are both finite and dwindling.
The conference is widely regarded as the first global environmental summit. It was where the idea of a World Environment Day formalised. The World Environment Day was first observed in 1973.
The year 2022 is a historic milestone for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global environmental community. It marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UNEP as an outcome of the Stockholm Conference.
It serves as an opportunity for the international community to strengthen cooperation and show leadership in the transformation towards a more sustainable society.
The World Environment Day is described as "a global platform for inspiring positive change" by the UNEP, the organisation that created it.
UNEP says that, despite a raft of climate agreements, progress towards halting climate change is still too slow and individuals and civil society must play a key role in raising awareness and urging governments and the private sector to make large-scale changes.
This year’s World Environment Day comes with the planet facing a triple crisis: climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. As those crises have become more acute, World Environment Day’s message has gotten more urgent.
This year’s iteration is expected to feature hundreds of events and actions around the world, from an electric vehicle rally in Cairo to a massive cyclathon in Mumbai to an e-waste drive in Bucharest.