New Delhi: Every year on June 5, the world marks a day for nature which is known as the World Environment Day. Nature has numerous benefits for each and every specie on this planet – from the food we eat to the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable, all come from nature itself. According to the United Nations, each year, marine plants produce more than half of our atmosphere’s oxygen, and a mature tree cleans our air, absorbing 22 kilos of carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen in exchange. Yet, despite all the benefits that our nature gives us, we mistreat it. And that is why June 5 is marked around the globe to make people aware of the importance of the environment.
History Of June 5, World Environment Day
The UN General Assembly in 1972 established World Environment Day 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 world environment day was celebrated with the theme “Only One Earth”. World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. In 1987, the idea for rotating the host country for the celebrations of world environment day began.
Theme For World Environment Day 2020
The theme for this year is biodiversity – a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the planet, in which they exist.
In 2018, India was chosen as the host country for the world environment day celebrations with a focus on plastic pollution. This year, Colombia will be hosting World Environment Day 2020 in partnership with Germany.
Biodiversity And Its Connection With Humans
In simple terms, biodiversity is the foundation that supports the life of humans and each and every species on the earth. It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance, and climate change mitigation. If any one element in the biodiversity is changed or removed, the entire life system will get affected and can produce negative consequences.
Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture, and acceleration of climate change, have pushed nature beyond its limit. If we continue on this path, biodiversity loss will have severe implications for humanity, including the collapse of food and health systems.
Facts You Should Be Aware Of
According to the United Nations, some of the facts and statistics on how biodiversity is getting impacted because of our actions are-
- Biodiversity involves 8 million plant and animal species, the ecosystems that house them, and the genetic diversity among them. In the last 150 years, the live coral reef cover has been reduced by half
- Within the next 10 years, one out of every four known species may have been wiped off the planet
- It would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make on nature each year
The emergence of the recent global pandemic – COVID-19 has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. As per the statistics, today, it is estimated that, globally, about one billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from diseases caused by coronaviruses; and about 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted to people by animals.
Nature is sending us a message that it is time to rethink and respect, coexist with the environment.