It’s time for nature on World Environment Day
The theme for World Environment Day (5th June) this year is biodiversity — a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world.
It’s Time for Nature. The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. These are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message. Nature is showing that we are on the verge of a breakdown.
One million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities. Every species plays an important role in keeping an ecosystem balanced and healthy.
Healthy ecosystems that are rich with biodiversity are fundamental to human existence. Ecosystems sustain human life in a myriad of ways, cleaning our air, purifying our water, ensuring the availability of nutritious foods, nature-based medicines and raw materials, and reducing the occurrence of disasters.
But we have not taken care of nature. We are witnessing unparalleled bushfires in Brazil, United States and Australia, locust invasions in the Horn of Africa, and the death of coral reefs. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – the latest in a string of zoonotic disease outbreaks – shows that the planet’s health is linked to our health.
World Environment Day urges us to rethink how our economic systems have evolved and the impact they have on the environment. These are issues the world cannot lose sight of even as we tackle a global pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis. Getting nature at the heart of all decision making for people and the planet must be our top priority.
Get involved on World Environment Day
The good news is that we can reverse the trends of biodiversity loss by re-imagining our relationship with nature and acting now to increase ambition and accountability for its protection. We must conserve and restore wildlife and wild spaces, change the way we produce and consume food, promote environmentally friendly infrastructure and transform economies to become custodians of nature.
Each one of us has a role to play in ending biodiversity loss and preserving nature for human well-being. As individuals we can change our current course of destruction to one of custodianship of nature. To do this we must first:
- LEARN about what we can do;
- SHARE that knowledge with our family and friends on World Environment Day and beyond; and
- ACT on the things we need to change.
Here are some resources for you to LEARN about how you can protect nature:
- Find out what your city and national government is doing to protect the environment.
- Join Earth School and take part in the 30 lessons on the environment hosted by TED-Ed and curated by some of the best nature teachers in
- Learn about how you can help fight climate change through the United Nations’ Act Now campaign.
- Learn about plastic pollution and how it affects marine species through UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign.
- Find out about the endangered species that are trafficked in the illegal wildlife trade.
- Look into the Anatomy of Action which maps out actions individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Learn about the emissions-gap left for countries to limit global temperatures to 1.5°C.
- The Nature Conservancy is a global non-profit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.
- Learn more about the International Plant Protection Convention.
- Find out if your cosmetics and products contain harmful microbeads through the Beat the Microbead app.
- IUCN’s #NatureforAll Discovery Zone offers a range of creative tools to help you learn about nature – from videos to lesson plans, to comic books.
Here’s how you can ACT for nature:
- Change your diet to more environmentally friendly foods, especially your main protein sources.
- Travel less – limit your travel when things go back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Leave some wild green spaces in your garden where pollinators and ground dwelling insects can thrive.
- Let your city and national governments know that it is important they meet environmental targets they’ve pledged.
- Avoid buying single-use plastics. Plastic waste that ends up in nature is often mistaken for food by animals both on land and at sea. For many species, it can cause severe injury and death.
- Recycle as much as you can.
- Plant an urban garden on your balcony or backyard or get involved in supporting a community urban garden with native flowering plants.
- Minimize use of household chemicals that can have toxic effects on soil and groundwater. Instead, experiment with natural products, such as vinegar and plain old soap and water.
- Create a compost in your garden or windowsill and grow some of your own produce.
- Explore how to buy locally produced products and foods.
Source: World Environment Day website.Published on Monday, May 18th, 2020, under Events