World Environment Day 2022
Recognised in 150 countries around the world as a day of environmental campaigning and awareness-raising, the focus for this year’s World Environment Day is #OnlyOneEarth, with the UN calling for transformative action not only to celebrate, but also to restore our planet.
We’ve taken a look at the origins of World Environment Day, the theme for 2022, and why almost five decades on the day is more important than ever.
Driving environmental action since 1974
Established by the UN in 1974, World Environment Day has since developed into a major environmental platform, with millions of people taking part each year.
The initiative aims to draw attention to the most pressing environmental issues, with each year focusing on a particular theme, such as marine pollution, sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
For example, the 2018 theme was plastic pollution, with host country India making the commitment to ban all single-use plastics. In 2020, a focus on biodiversity saw the introduction of a new global goal to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030.
Bringing together communities around the world
With over 150 countries participating in World Environment Day, the initiative has become a major global platform for change. All over the world, governments, businesses, schools, and communities get involved to raise awareness and celebrate environmental action.
Whether you’re an individual or part of a wider group, there are many ways of taking part in World Environment Day - from physical and virtual events, to challenges for schools to participate in, to resources for learning more about how you can do your bit. Find all the material and information you need to get started here.
A milestone year
2022 is being seen as a milestone year for World Environment Day as it marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, generally regarded as the first international meeting on the environment. This conference saw the agreement of the Stockholm Declaration, which contained a series of principles prioritising environmental issues, kickstarting a host of global agreements to protect the planet.
Although a lot has changed since then, much of the UN’s vital environmental work can be traced back to this point in 1972. Many of the principles included in the Stockholm Declaration, for example, have gone on to pave the way for the Sustainable Development Goals which are used as the global framework today.
To mark the anniversary, the host country for this year’s World Environment Day is Sweden - an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made over the last 50 years, as well as to showcase some of the environmental innovation coming out of the country since then.
Back in 1972, ‘Only One Earth’ was the theme for the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. “50 years on,” the UN says, “this still holds true - this planet is our only home.” This year, therefore, the UN chose to revisit this theme, calling for transformative change to address the climate emergency.
To find out more about World Environment Day 2022 visit the website.
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