The World Environment Day (WED) is observed annually on 5 June and it aims to promote worldwide awareness and action for the environment. More than 150 countries take part in World Environment Day, and the day focuses on environmental concerns ranging from pollution to global warming, and sustainable food production to protection of wildlife. Since its inception in 1972, this day has been celebrated by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities, civil societies, and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.
Each year, World Environment Day is hosted by a different country where the official celebrations take place. The host country for 2022 is Sweden. This year is a historic milestone for the global environmental community. It marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, widely seen as the first international meeting on the environment. The 1972 Stockholm Conference spurred the formation of environment ministries and agencies around the world and kickstarted a host of new global agreements to collectively protect the environment.
Time is running out, and nature is in emergency mode. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, we must halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 per cent within the decade and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040. Hence, this year’s theme is ‘Only One Earth’ and it focuses on living sustainably in harmony with nature, as pertinent as ever. It calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), aim to listen to young people's voices from all around the world, and capture their thoughts, their aspirations for the future as well as reactions on environmental issues. Furthermore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states our resolve “to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources”. We urge young people and youth organisations to build momentum and unite the global community in actions for positive change.
Maintaining the environmental integrity is the responsibility of every individual within the society, youth inclusive. Every single day. Every country, company, organisation, and individual has a role to play. Living in harmony with nature can be achieved!