For almost half a century, since 1974, June 5th has been the date of World Environment Day, the United Nations biggest event for promoting and encouraging awareness and action on environmental protection.
This year, as the world begins to recover from the Covid pandemic, we are also beginning to realise that there is a very real correlation between healing from the pandemic and healing the planet, and also that post-pandemic recovery plans offer a unique chance to change the course of industry and commerce into a much more planet friendly direction.
That urgent need to reset humanity’s relationship with nature will be the central focus of this years World Environment Day, which will also mark the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a ten-year global push to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation, and the start of #GenerationRestoration.
Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) explains why this is both vital and the perfect time to take action:
“It’s easy to lose hope when we think of the sheer magnitude of the challenges we face and the avalanche of bad news that we wake up to every morning.
But just as we caused the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution crisis, we can reverse the damage that we’ve done; we can be the first generation to reimagine, to recreate and to restore nature to kickstart action for a better world.”
The host country for this years event is Pakistan, one of the countries at the most urgent risk from climate change, who are tackling the problem head on, including launching their own Ecosystem Restoration Fund, and the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, which aims to plant 10 billion trees across the country by 2023.
Like most international "Days", this one has become a bigger event, kicking off on June 4th with the virtual gala launch for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a 'celebration of the planet and the growing movement to restore it' which will include messages from world leaders, scientists, and climate activists, as well as live musical performances from international artists.
You can follow the entire event live online here from 13:00 UTC on June 4th.
If you want to know what else is going on, and there is quite a lot to keep track of, then you can check out the entire schedule of events on the official website.
Then, on June 5, people across the planet will showcase their efforts in projects on all continents to help restore the natural world. You can join in on social media, by taking part in the Snap Challenge and showing how you plan to be a part of #GenerationRestoration.
To keep up with all of the events on World Environment Day head to the the official website, you can also watch the live event there or find it on YouTube, and learn more about the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration here.