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Issues such as pollution, climate change, deforestation, and human overpopulation have drastically changed the way the world works. Because of the significance of these issues, the United Nations created World Environment Day to help educate people about the consequences of human activity.

World Environment Day is a holiday all about teaching people about environmental issues, giving people the opportunity to change the habits they have that are affecting the environment and work towards change.

Learn about World Environment Day

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ main vehicle for encouraging action and awareness in terms of protecting the environment. The day has been held for many years now, with the first World Environment Day occurring in 1974. It has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on different environmental problems and issues that are emerging because of wildlife crime, global warming, human overpopulation, marine pollution, and other problems. On this day, we are encouraged to learn more about these issues and how we can protect the environment, as well as encouraging others to broaden their knowledge as well.

History of World Environment Day

World Environment Day is an important example of how people should care for the environment, raising awareness of the increasing levels of pollution, human overpopulation, and climate change.

The holiday was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Inspired to help create change in the world, the first celebration of the holiday occurred two years later, becoming a huge success.

Since then, it has grown to become a global platform for discussions about the environment, spreading awareness of the effects of human activity. Since then, World Environmental Day is celebrated in over 100 countries and each year, a theme is chosen to help draw attention to a particular concern.

Hosted by a wide variety of sponsors, World Environment Day presses environmental change through education, hoping to inspire action in people all over the world. Each country hosts events talking about the environmental problems specifically affecting that country.

On this day, people register for activities sponsored by the holiday and take part in humanitarian and environmental activities, such as helping third-world countries, planting trees to regrow forests, cleaning up beaches and side roads.

The ultimate goal os this holiday is to inspire long-term change, where people make the choice to take part in changing their habits, such as changing to LED lightbulbs, recycling and conserving energy.

World Environment Day has grown massively over the years. There are 143 countries that participate in this day annually. There is a new theme that is assigned to this day every year, giving governments, celebrities, communities, NGOs, and corporations direction when it comes to different events they can plan and ways that they can raise awareness for this important day.

Some of the different themes that have occurred over the years include the likes of “Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator,” “Beat Plastic Pollution,” “Time for Nature,”, and “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” Every year, there is also a host nation for the event. For example, India hosted World Environment Day in 2011, with Brazil taking on the honor in 2012. In 2019, China held the day, with the theme being “Beat Air Pollution.” The 2020 version of World Environment Day was hosted by Colombia in partnership with Germany.

World Environment Day Timeline

19th Century

Scientists notice climate changing

In the early 1800s scientists begin identifying ice ages, and other paleoclimate natural changes, with suspicions about the greenhouse effect.[1]


Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment 

Resulting from conversations taking place about the interactions between humans and the environment, this meeting leads to the creation of World Environment Day (WED).[2]


World Environment Day is first celebrated 

Having been established by the United Nations two years earlier, the first celebration of this day takes place on June 5th and is hosted by the city of Spokane, Washington with the theme “Only One Earth”.[3]


International Polar Year Inspires WED

This year the focus of the event revolves around the impact that climate change is having over polar ecosystems. The event takes place in Tromsø, Norway, which is located north of the Arctic Circle.[4]


Thirty Year Anniversary of World Environment Day 

World Environment Day celebrates its 30th birthday this year and so reclaims the first theme of “Only One Earth”, taking place in Sweden in partnership with the UN Environment Program.[5]

How to Celebrate World Environment Day

If you want to see what World Environment Day is all about, register for a local event near you and learn about how human activity has affected the world we live in. Invite friends and family members to join you and help them learn about what people can do to help the environment.

If those events inspired you, volunteer for a clean-up crew, help out a recycling station or pick up garbage in your local area. Share information about climate change with your friends and encourage them to change their habits to help reduce the effects of climate change in people’s lives.

As mentioned, there is a different theme every year, so it is a good idea to look up the theme and then you can base your efforts on this. This could be anything from taking part in a local event or learning more about the host nation and their environmental issues. You could also post messages on social media to raise awareness about the date and the specific them for this year.

There is a lot of great content online, and it only gets better and more diverse as we build-up to World Environmental Day. So, you can do a little bit of digging online to find out more. A good place to start is with the Earth Anthem poem, which Abhay K has penned. This is often sung on World Environment Day as the day’s anthem. It goes as follows:

“Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and all the oceans
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
different cultures, beliefs and ways
we are humans, the earth is our home
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag.”

Why not have a go at creating your own poem that you can share with others for this date? You could even create a piece of artwork that is about saving the planet. There are many different mediums that can be used to communicate the messages that are associated with World Environment Day. You don’t have to be a naturally creative person in order to put together something powerful that comes from the heart. It is a different way to engage with people and raise awareness. Of course, fundraising and volunteering your time are recommended as well.

World Environment Day FAQs

When is world environment day celebrated?

World Environment Day (WED) has been celebrated on June 5 of each year since 1974. Each year the city where the event takes place changes.[1]

Who started World Environment Day?

The United Nations first began conversations about WED in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.[2]

What is the theme of World Environment Day?

The theme for each WED observance changes annually, but some past themes have included: A Tree for Peace, Only One Earth–Care and Share, For Life on Earth, Your Planet Needs You and many others.[3]

What is World Environment Day?

This day was created for the purpose of raising awareness and creating action that moves in the direction of protecting and maintaining the environment.[4]

How does modern day living affect the environment?

Today’s modern lifestyle affects the earth’s resources in many negative ways through air pollution, use of non-renewable resources like fossil fuels, overuse of animal products, rampant deforestation and more.[5]

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