In 1972, the UN general assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day. Through the 1970’s & 1980’s World Environment Day helped to raise awareness of environmental concerns such as: depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming.
World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action. Canada, having been chosen as this year’s host, will be the center of celebrations around the planet. The theme Canada has chosen for 2017 is:
Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator
“Canada will host the world in celebrating World Environment Day. In the spirit of this year’s theme, ‘Connecting People to Nature,’ I encourage all Canadians to explore our country’s beautiful natural areas, including our national parks, national wildlife areas, and migratory bird sanctuaries. As part of the celebration, Parks Canada is offering free passes to national parks across the country, throughout 2017.” – Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
In this modern age of urban asphalt and smartphones, most people’s connection to nature may be fleeting. On this World Environment Day we hope to reinforce the harmony needed between humanity and nature so both are able to thrive. This is an ideal occasion to enjoy a local park or wilderness area, take a hike, pick up trash, plant a window box or lift up a paving stone and see what lives below it.
Recently, smart phones apps have been developed to allow everyone to help protect our natural resources. “Citizen Scientists” now have the capability to photograph birds, butterflies and wildlife they come across and upload the GPS location to one of many online databases. Environmentalist are using this information to monitor our environment and determine how nature is reacting to pressures such as climate change or pollution.
Whatever your interests, there is almost certainly a science project out there that needs citizen help and World Environment Day would be the perfect time to join in!
World Environment Day
The many and varied gifts of nature often go unnoticed.
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
- Insects pollinate trees and plants that produce our food
- Oceans, forests and soils store greenhouse gases
- The ocean produces 70% of the oxygen we breathe
- Fishermen harvest nature under the water to provide us with food
- Many modern medicines are derived from nature’s genetic material
Children have a natural wonder with all aspects of nature, but as adults we can lose touch with that passion. We need to re-connect with nature to re-kindle the passion on a regular basis. Sir David Attenborough noted “If you lose passion for nature you’ve lost one of more precious things human beings have. It is the source of everything we find beautiful.”
It only takes the slightest thing to re-connect with our natural world. Something as simple as a stroll through a city park can re-spark the passion. Since nature supplies us with the food we eat and the very air we breathe, preserving it is in all of our best interests.