World Environment Day
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on 5 June with the aim of encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment It is a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. It was first held in 1974, it has been a platform for raising awareness on environmental issue such as marine pollution, human overpopulation, global warming, sustainable consumption, wildlife crime, air pollution, plastic pollution, illegal wildlife trade, sea-level increase, and food security etc.
The World Environment Day 2022 global campaign #OnlyOneEarth calls for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener, and sustainable living in harmony with nature. It will focus on the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature, and our possibilities for shifting to a greener lifestyle through both policies and individual choices. On this day, governments, NGOs and citizens put their efforts to spread awareness above the importance of conserving the environment and negate the impact of human activity on the environment.
“World Environment Day is a reminder for us to pause and reflect on our actions and their subsequent consequences on the planet. We are living in a world where averting our eyes from the climate crisis is not an option. That’s why public and private stakeholders are setting targets to reduce their carbon emissions. But it’s not enough, we need the world to come together. Media campaigns, green walks, street rallies, distribution and planting of saplings, slogan writing and painting contests, strings of functions and speeches does not impact us, as we continue to slouch in our cozy synthetic leather beanbags, drooling over junk food and gaping at the idiot box, craving for more, more, more. Consider the everyday example of plastic bags, which we recklessly use and throw. World Environment Day is a call for each of us to sit up and reflect. Life isn’t all about grab-grab, waste-waste, though frankly that’s just the way we like it. This planet and all the wonderful things nature has created, belongs to us all. This world is miraculous in its infinite beauty and variety.
Now it is Important to Protect the Environment
There are several reasons we should strive to live a more sustainable lifestyle and protect the environment. Protecting our environment is the foundation for sustaining our planet, community and economy. Our environment supports and houses our ecosystems, allowing them to grow and thrive. If we fail to protect our environment, we will put the lives of humans, animals, plants and more at risk. Ecosystems within our environment are deeply connected. We must protect them all to protect our environment. After all, we live and rely on nature to provide basic human survival needs. Protecting the environment means paying our dues to ensure opportunities for future generations. Natural resources are running out, and we must find ways to live more sustainable lifestyles to support future generations.
Recycling helps to protect the Environment
Recycling helps the environment in a very impactful way. In its most basic form, recycling prevents and reduces:
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Emissions of water pollutants
- The need for new raw materials
- The amount of waste that goes into our landfills
- Energy usage
If you want to start recycling, you should educate yourself on your local recycling do’s and don’ts. Next, decide how you will collect materials and recycle them. Perhaps you will collect recyclables and put them in your recycling bin, or maybe you will separate recyclables. For example, you may want to separate cans and bottles to turn them in for cash. Newspapers, plastic bottles and other household items can be recycled. To make your recycling come full circle, you can start focusing on buying products made from recycled materials.
Conserving Energy helps to protect the Environment
The less energy you use, the less you rely on carbon-intensive power plants that emit carbon dioxide. In the United States, most electricity generation comes from thermal power plants. Thermal power plants typically burn fossil fuels to heat water and produce steam. Burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gas emissions which drive climate change.
Flora and Fauna
Our country is blessed with a rich diversity of wildlife and flora. Yet many educated Indians either do not value this bountiful heritage or have a superficial understanding of its importance. We should conserve flora and fauna to maintain biodiversity. The biodiversity richness ensures that the various types of plants and animals are balanced in a positive way in the environment. Flora is important in many ways. Trees and plants are most essential because they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Many milch animals provide us milk products which we use as our food. Eggs and other dairy products are provided by many animals. Flora and fauna should be conserved to make a rich and healthy environment.
Renewable Energy helps to protect the Environment
Renewable energy does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately reducing air pollution. In addition, our dependence on imported fossil fuels is reduced with renewable energy. Renewable energy can save consumers money while protecting the environment. Renewable energy sources such as sun and wind do not need to be refueled, thus improving our energy supply in an eco-friendly way.
“Taking Wildlife Photographs or Liking Issues on Facebook is not Conservation.”
Take a Step towards a Greener Planet
The official UN website lists 10 sectors for a greener planet. Construction and buildings are foremost among these. Conventional building methods using cement, glass, steel and concrete use up massive amounts of resources and generate wastes, accelerating global warming.
- Materials such as sand, stone and timber are usually extracted in ways that can harm the soil, rivers and forests. Dust from construction sites not only annoys people living nearby, but it can ruin the lungs and internal organs of poor construction workers who breathe it continuously.
- As our cities grow and get choked by more buildings, asthma and other respiratory problems are growing. As individuals, we can take steps to incorporate green building concepts in our homes and workplaces, which make efficient use of water and electricity. Locally available and sustainable construction materials such as bamboo can be used as eco-friendly alternatives to chopping down forests for timber.
- Fish is a delicious and nutritious food but overfishing in many parts of the world is a threat to many species and their ecosystem. Policies to promote sustainable fishing practices can stem the damage. We can choose to buy only those seafood products that have been harvested sustainably, sending a message to producers about our support for a Green Economy for fisheries.
- Forests shelter myriad species of wildlife and rich and unique ecosystems. They keep the air clean and help to maintain a moderate climate. Forests provide a livelihood to many, including indigenous tribes, whose cultures are deeply connected with forests. Destruction of forests accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- We can reduce the use of paper and rely more on electronic communications and file. We can insist on using sustainable forest products, and substitute environment friendly materials such as particle boards for materials such as solid wood, which results in deforestation and degradation of the environment.
- Traffic is a boon and bane of civilization. The luxury of a speedy and enjoyable drive can also lead to traffic jams, pollution and accidents. Air pollution, of which over 70% is estimated to be caused by traffic emissions, can cause breathing problems. Studies have linked exhaust fumes to increase in heart diseases, and some of the pollutants are known to cause cancer.
- Water, the elixir of life, needs to be conserved and used wisely. With the world’s population skyrocketing, billions of people worldwide lack clean drinking water or sanitation. We can make small steps to conserve water a daily habit. Turning off taps when not in use, repairing leaky pipes, running washing machines only with full loads, and limiting our use of bath water are practical and doable.
- Implementing rainwater harvesting in our homes is a must. Every drop saved is precious. Agriculture needs to be promoted in an ecologically sustainable way, so that our farms can continue to feed the world’s growing population. As individual consumers, we can opt for locally grown and fresh seasonal vegetables, rather than greens and fruits transported over long distances in fuel-burning trucks, and requiring electricity guzzling refrigeration.
- Our lifestyles demand energy, as our rising demand exhaust the natural resources. Widespread use of conventional energy sources like oil and coal causes disease inducing pollution. While supporting the increased use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, we must rationalize our personal habits.
- If we do not curb the generation of waste, the planet may soon become choked with rubbish. Before throwing anything away, we must try our best to reduce, recycle and reuse. We can take simple steps like avoiding disposable plastic plates and cups; refusing to buy over packaged goods wrapped in reams of plastics; use cloth or jute bags for shopping; and reusing wrapping paper, plastic bags and boxes
- Domestic wastes need to be sorted into items that can be recycled or made into compost. We can mobilize support for recycling efforts within our community.
- Industries drive economic growth, but they also produce pollutants and can exhaust natural resources. We can help mobilize public opinion within the community towards a change for the better. As aware and alert consumers, we can insist on buying products from businesses that have plans to sustain the environment; treat effluents before releasing them into the ecosystem, and invest in renewable energy.
Best Ways to Save Earth
- Use biomass boiler instead of gas boiler: To cut down the amount of CO2 you emit into the atmosphere switch to a biomass boiler instead of a gas boiler as the process is carbon neutral – the amount of carbon you consume is the same amount released back into the atmosphere.
- Install solar panels: Solar panels are a great investment. They not only add value to your home, they also benefit the environment considerably, as you cut back on the amount of fossil fuels needed as an energy source. The amount of energy generated by solar panels can be sold back to the grid.
- Install solar thermal panels for water heating: Solar thermal water heating systems reduce the amount of carbon derived greenhouse gases that homes and businesses emit into the atmosphere by reducing their consumption of fossil fuels. By using solar energy you are able to reduce your utility bills by up to 70%.
- Choose renewable energy suppliers: By choosing a renewable energy supplier, not only are you reducing the amount of fossil fuels you consume per year. You are also creating awareness to the need for increased development for renewable energy sources. This also helps to improve continued national energy security.
- Use rechargeable batteries: To cut back on the amount of batteries you buy and throw away, why not use rechargeable batteries instead.
- Install Wind Turbines: Installing a domestic wind turbine can allow you to reduce your energy dependence on the electric grid, although it has some limitations: its small scale doesn’t allow it to harvest a lot of energy and it doesn’t supply electricity constantly.
- Avoid using portable heaters: Portable heaters are an alternative technology to central heating systems for space heating purposes. Unlike central heating, they provide “spot” heating, and require a larger energy consumption per unit of supplied heat. They are, therefore, a less efficient and less eco-friendly option.
- Install an automatic thermostat: Automatic thermostats help reduce your temperature bills (heating and cooling) considerably as you can set the desired temperatures you would like to have in your home while you are asleep, at work, or while away from home.
- Recycle old appliances: Recycling is a way to reduce landfill waste that not only applies to plastic, paper or glass. Appliances and electronic devices contain plastic, metal and other non-biodegradable materials. It’s therefore very important to recycle them once they’re no longer of use, so their impact on the environment is minimal.
- Reuse your plastic bags: While grocery shopping, instead of buying a bag, take your own bag or reuse an old plastic bag you have lying around in your home. This does not only save your money on bag purchases in store, also it will reduce environmental pollution.
- Use biodegradable utensils: Instead of using plastic cutlery when eating out why not switch to biodegradable cutlery? This helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste we have in the environment and increases the need to switch to eco-friendly alternatives.
- Buy Organic Produce: By purchasing organic food, you can help support a type of farming based on the use of natural substances, and more sustainable agricultural techniques than those developed by industrial farming.
- Switch to online bills (instead of paper bills): Paper bills not only require cutting trees and using toxic chemical products, but also burning fuels during their distribution. By deciding to receive your bills electronically, you are prevent many harmful process from taking place.
- Use both sides of the paper: Use paper more efficiently by printing or writing on both sides of it. You will save on the amount of packs of paper you buy, reducing the amount of deforestation that goes on during paper production. This saves up to 50% of the costs associated with paper!
- Buy local products: Buying products locally reduces the amount of environmental pollutants we are exposed to, since products won’t need to travel as far. This also helps to preserve farmland by using locally grown products.
- Use Eco-Friendly Stationary: Using eco-friendly stationery allows a reduction in the amount of wasted stationary found in landfills, and also reduces the amount of trees cut in order to produce it. You also reduce the amount of fossil fuel based inks being used to make pens by opting for vegetable based inks instead.
- Take your bike instead of your car: Not only is biking a great way to exercise, it also helps the environment by reducing the amount of fuel burnt into the atmosphere. Bikes need less energy than cars in the production process and do not need any motor oil or toxic batteries.
- Buy a public transport card: public transport must be used to reduce the amount of CO2 you produce with private transportation. By commuting in a more efficient way, public transport can move more people the same amount of fuel burned and this type of transport uses green energy more often than private cars.
- Turn off all your lights when you are not in the room: Depending on the kind of light bulb you use, it’s advisable to always turn them off when you don’t need them. The next time you buy a light bulb make sure you buy either a halogen bulb or LED lights as they have the highest efficiency compared to incandescent lights.
- Don’t run more tap water than you need: Don’t run more tap water than you need. Simply turn the faucet off! This will save you money on your next water bill. You can save water by using a dishwasher, keeping a bottle or pitcher of water in the fridge or placing a cistern displacement device in your toilet.
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop: Laptops are more energy efficient than desktops because of their extended battery life. Laptops can be up to 80% more efficient than desktop computers. Also, if you use a laptop, then consider investing a little bit more to get one with an LCD screen.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs: By using energy efficient light bulbs such as halogen or LED light bulbs you end up saving on the amount of electricity you have to pay for on your utility bills.
- Use timers for outdoor lights: Using timers to turn on and off outdoor lights would constitute a very efficient way of saving energy that is consumed for lighting purposes.
People around the world need to understand the need for a greener and cleaner planet. We all need to fulfill our responsibilities and make a tremendous effort to protect our Environment from activities that harm.