Since 2005, UN World Environment Day has been celebrated across the globe on June 5th to raise awareness about the urgent need to protect our planet and nature. Every year, the United Nations chooses a different theme, one that’s most urgent and focuses on that, driving initiatives and projects that can make a difference.
2016 – the year of wildlife
In the last month alone, we’ve come across three cases of animals being hurt or killed, purely because of human involvement or greed. The cases of Harambe the gorilla, the lions in Chile, and most heartbreakingly, the tiger cubs in Thailand – are all shocking examples of how we devalue animals’ lives.
Which makes it fitting that this year’s theme is ‘Go wild for life’ – focusing on how we’re driving whole species of flora and fauna to extinction through illegal trade in wildlife products, killing and smuggling. In 2011 alone, two species of animals went extinct: a subspecies of Javan rhino and the western black rhinos in Cameroon. Great apes, helmeted hornbills, pangolins wild orchids and rosewood are all in danger.
And it’s not just wildlife – the smuggling also undermines economies, fuels organised crime and feeds corruption across the world.
How can you help?
By taking action of your own. By helping save animals or plants in your area that are under threat. By contributing to foundations associated with the UN that work to save wildlife.
Apart from these, you can celebrate World Environment Day every day, with small actions like these:
Plant something: if not a tree, then at least a kitchen plant or a succulent in a small pot
Feed the animals in your neighbourhood: Organise a group and take turns feeding the strays around your area – this is legal and humane
Say no to plastic bags: opt for reusable bags when you shop
Conserve energy: turn off monitors and lights when not in use
Use rainwater to water your indoor plants
Use food scraps and throwable leftovers to fertilise your plants. Remember to compost them before using
Buy a reusable coffee mug or cup and refuse disposable cups from cafes
Buy groceries in larger quantities to reduce packaging use
Reuse takeout containers and jars to store masalas and powders
Eat organic, local food: rather than chemical-laden produce with large carbon footprints
Happy World Environment Day! Let’s together do our bit and conserve and live in harmony with nature.