A Brief History of World Environment Day: What You Should Know

A Brief History of World Environment Day: What You Should Know

Table of Contents

Every year since 1973, the 5th of every June has been recognized as World Environment Day. This day celebrates the human environment and aims to raise awareness around every pressing matter that practically haunt our environment right now. But how did it first start? Who started World Environment Day as a concept and what prompted them to do so?



• How 'World Environment Day' Came to Life 

In the year 1972, a conference was held in Stockholm, Sweden. Also known as the Stockholm Conference or the Conference on Human Environment, this meet-up aimed at finding a common solution for the challenge of how to 'preserve and enhance the human environment.' Almost 122 countries, including India as represented by our then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, attended this conference and it is now known as a turning point in international cooperation for environmental politics. 


The Stockholm Conference lasted from 5th to 16th June and was a noteworthy event. Soon after, on 15th December in the same year, the United Nations General Assembly declared 5th June as World Environment Day and - as mentioned before - their long-term aim was to raise awareness about human impact on the environment and encourage conscious action to heal it. 


Additionally, on the same day, the General Assembly also established a specialized agency for environmental issues called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The mission of this agency is pretty straightforward - to provide leadership and encourage global leaders to partner up and take action to protect our environment. 


Rightfully so, the Stockholm Conference is often called the inception point of World Environment Day and consequently UNEP. Perhaps, we'd see that the world would be a very different place without these events and their consequences. But how so? How does celebrating every 5th of June raise awareness about the human environment?



• How The First World Environment Day Celebrated: The First Joint Efforts to Save the Environment 

The theme and slogan of the first World Environment Day was simple yet strong - "Only One Earth." Realistically, the theme speaks for itself and puts forth a strong point that can't be ignored. The host city for this day in 1973 was Geneva, Switzerland. 


This theme has shown up for more celebrations of this day time and again, highlighting the importance of how we have just one earth and the time to save the planet is now. The second celebration, held in the United States of America, also revolved around this theme, further adding to the sense of urgency while raising awareness about how green environment preservation was a pressing matter. 



• Ways to Help the Environment: Various Themes of the World Environment Day

Since the first WED revolved around the slogan "Only One Earth", countless more themes were later established to ensure a proper flow of information while raising awareness regarding global warming and climate change, and other environmental issues. Every year, the host city changes and the theme is decided according to what issues ail that region along with several others. 

For instance, the World Environment Day of 1975 was celebrated in Bangladesh and the theme of discussion was "Human Settlements." Over time, many such themes have come up, highlighting matters that cannot be ignored. Some of these themes are: 

1. 1976, Water: Vital Resource for Life -- hosted in Canada


2. 1977, Ozone Layer Environmental Concern; Lands Loss and Soil Degradation -- hosted in Bangladesh


3.  1978, Development Without Destruction -- hosted in Bangladesh

This theme went on to become an integral and highly discussed matter in other years as well including 1979 and 1980. 


4. 1983, Managing and Disposing Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and Energy -- hosted in Bangladesh


5. 1989, Global Warming -- hosted in Belgium


6. 1993, Poverty and the Environment – Breaking the Vicious Circle -- hosted in China 


7. 2016, Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife trade -- hosted in Angola 


Other themes of debate also revolved around sustainable development and combatting pollution. Worldwide, World Environment Day has been a day aimed at increasing visibility to previously unseen problems and tackling the problems at hand by forging partnerships and shaking hands to agree to mutually beneficial international cooperation. 



• What is WED 2024 About?

The year 2024 will witness World Environment Day  hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the theme being "accelerating land restoration, drought resilience & desertification progress."

With the problem of water shortage becoming an increasing threat worldwide, understanding how to tackle the matter is a concern that cannot be ignored anymore. Realizing that partnerships will undoubtedly be forged internationally but also that we can do more to save the planet at an individual level is very important. So, what can you do at your personal level?



 Ways to Preserve the Environment at an Individual Level

Developing higher levels of awareness about how our activities affect the environment and accepting that even at an individual level, what we do could really adversely affect the planet is the first step to creating a better tomorrow. 

Here are a few things we can do to save the planet and help reduce our carbon footprint:


1. Reducing Plastic Usage

Using non-recyclable, one-time use plastic is the reason why plastic pollution exists. This plastic ends up in the stomach of innocent creatures who can't differentiate the right from the wrong food when hungry. It also ends up in land fills and often times breaking down into microplastics that enter our bloodstream.

Reducing plastic usage now will allow us to efficiently curb plastic pollution in the future, eventually reducing the threat plastic usage currently poses.  


2. Walking

Sounds simple, sounds doable. But when it really comes down to it, we're not always able to keep up with walking to places. However, walking short distances instead of taking a bike or a car will allow you to reduce your contribution to pollution and your own carbon footprint. In the long run, this will be much more beneficial than we think. 


3. Further Educate the Unaware

If knowing about World Environment Day has helped you realize the importance of why we need to save the environment, you can do your bit by providing your new-found awareness with another outlet. You can spread awareness further by educating those who know nothing about the pressing matters at hand. This will give you more creative freedom to make a bigger change. 


4. Plant a Tree

Sounds cliche? Well, you may think it's cliche and overused but that's only because it's true. If everyone decides to plant a tree and care for it, we could turn the world into a living, breathing forest. So, change does start at an individual level because if everyone decides to lend a hand individually, the world would be a much better place.


5. Can't Plant a Tree? Get a Plant!

Getting a plant to make your house look good has more of a positive impact on the environment around you than you'd think. Every plant you get adds to the green population in this world, and if everyone kept their house full of plants, the air we breathe would be much cleaner and healthier.


So, what are you waiting for? You can do your part now and effortlessly so!


Buy Plants