World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on the 5th of June every year, and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.
World Environment Day [WED] was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, resulting from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment. Two years later, in 1974 the first WED was held with the theme “Only One Earth”. Even though WED celebration have been held annually since 1974, in 1987 the idea for rotating the center of these activities through selecting different host countries began.
For almost five decades, World Environment Day has been raising awareness, supporting action, and driving change. Here is a timeline of key accomplishments in WEDs’ history:
The theme for 2019 is “Beat Air Pollution”. The host nation is China.
The theme for 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The host nation was India. By choosing this Theme, it is aimed that people may strive to change their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution. People should be free from the over-reliance on single-use or disposables, as they have severe environmental consequences. We should liberate our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health from plastics. Indian government pledged to eliminate all single use of plastic in India by 2022.
The theme for 2017 was ‘Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator’. The host nation was Canada.
The 2016 WED was organized under the theme “Go wild for life”. This edition of the WED aims to reduce and prevent the illegal trade in wildlife. Angola was chosen as the host country of the 2016 WED during the COP21 in Paris. Activities for world environment day in Bhopal.
The Slogan of the 2015 edition of the World Environment Day is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”. The slogan was picked through a voting process on social media. In Saudi Arabia, 15 women recycled 2000 plastic bags to crochet a mural in support of the WED 2015. In India, Narendra Modi planted a Kadamb sapling to celebrate the World Environment Day and raise awareness for Environment. Italy is the host country of the 43rd edition of the WED. The celebrations took place as part of Milan Expo around the theme: Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.
The Theme of the 2014 WED is : International Year of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). By choosing this Theme the UN General Assembly aimed to highlight the development Challenges and successes of the SIDS. In 2014, the World Environment Day focused on global warming and its impact on ocean levels. The Slogan of the WED 2014 is “Raise your voice not the sea level”, as Barbados hosted the global celebrations of the 42nd edition of the World Environment Day. The UN Environment Programme named actor Ian Somerhalder as the official Goodwill ambassador of the WED 2014.
Stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Environmental Festival 2011. World Environment Day 2011 in Donetsk, Ukraine
US Consul CG Yee, along with the Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, the Prefect of Thessaloniki Panagiotis Psomiadis, and many others participating in World Environment Day on the waterfront, Bike Path
Trees planting during the World Environment Day 2012 in Konso – Ethiopia.
The 2013 theme for World Environment Day was Think.Eat.Save.
The campaign addressed the huge annual wastage and losses in food, which, if conserved, would release a large quantity of food as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint. The campaign aimed to bring about awareness in countries with lifestyles resulting in food wastage. It also aimed to empower people to make informed choices about the food they eat so as to reduce the overall ecological impact due to the worldwide production of food. The host country for the year’s celebrations was Mongolia.
The theme for the 2012 World Environment Day was Green Economy. The theme aimed to invite people to examine their activities and lifestyle and see how the concept of a “Green Economy” fits into it. The host country for the year’s celebrations was Brazil.
The theme for 2011 was Forests-Nature At Your Service. Thousands of activities were organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. That year’s global host, India, is a country of wide biodiversity.
‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future’, was the theme of 2010. It celebrated the diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. It was hosted in Rwanda. Thousands of activities were organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. Each continent (except Antarctica) had a “regional host city”, the U.N. chose Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the host for all North.
The theme for WED 2009 was ‘Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change’, and Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ was declared ‘World Environment Day Song’. It was hosted in Mexico.
The host for World Environment Day 2008 was New Zealand, with the main international celebrations scheduled for Wellington. The slogan for 2008 was “CO2, Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.” New Zealand was one of the first countries to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality, and will also focus on forest management as a tool for reducing greenhouse gases. The Chicago Botanic Garden served as the North American host for World Environment Day on 5 June 2008.
The topic for World Environment Day for 2007 was “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?” During International Polar Year, WED 2007 focused on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, on other ice- and snow-covered areas of the world, and the resulting global impacts. The main international celebrations of the WED 2007 were held in the city of Tromsø, Norway, a city north of the Arctic Circle.
The topic for WED 2006 was Deserts and Desertification and the slogan was “Don’t desert drylands”. The slogan emphasized the importance of protecting drylands. The main international celebrations of the World Environment Day 2006 were held in Algeria. Standard WED banners hung in San Francisco in May 2005. The theme for the 2005 World Environment Day was “Green Cities” and the slogan was “Plan for the Planet!”.