May we learn from their resilience and worth and stand as guardians of this precious earth.

Are you secure? If your surroundings are insecure, do you think you are secure? Although we do not consider that, we are in a world with lots of crises and challenges because of us. Then, if we want to protect ourselves, we need to protect our surroundings. What is that surrounding? It is called the environment.

What is the Environment?               

In simple terms, the environment is everything that is around us. It is a complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors that act upon an organism or ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival. The environment is a dynamic system that is sensitive to even a minor threat it has faced. Sometimes it is not shown, but it can be a huge crisis afterwards. So, the state of our environment is at a critical juncture. From climate change and deforestation to pollution and the loss of biodiversity, the planet is facing a multitude of interconnected crises. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and declining ecosystems serve as stark reminders of the consequences of unchecked human activity. However, amidst these challenges lies the opportunity for collective action and positive change.

World Environment Day

 As the world faces pressing environmental challenges, the significance of World Environment Day resonates more than ever. This annual event serves as a global platform to raise awareness, promote action, and advocate for the protection of our planet. With each passing year, the urgency to address environmental issues grows, compelling individuals, communities, and nations to embrace sustainability as a way of life.

World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 as a way to promote international action and increase public awareness of pressing environmental challenges. The first was a conference where significant concerns were discussed and stated, held in Stockholm, Sweden. Since then, on the same date in 1973, the practice has continued to exist. World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on June 5 to take action for the protection of the environment.

The theme of World Environment Day 2024 is “Land restoration, stopping desertification, and building drought resilience.” The host of this conference is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The theme is extremely important not only for Saudi Arabia but also for the Asia-Pacific region and for the whole planet. Anyway, Asia and the Pacific region are home to two-thirds of the world’s population, and they have rapid population growth. Rapid industrialization and urbanization cause environmental issues like land degradation, desertification, and increasing drought conditions. It also causes climate change all over the world. Having to face the increasing impacts of water stress and land degradation is another major issue.

Further commenting on this conference, the Executive Director of UNEP said,

“World Environment Day urges everyone to join the global movement to restore lands, build drought resilience, and combat desertification. Land degradation affects over 3 billion people, and freshwater ecosystems are degraded, making it difficult for smallholder farmers and rural poor to grow crops and raise livestock. Restoring ecosystems can slow the triple planetary crisis, including climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, pollution, and waste. Work has begun, with the UN decade on ecosystem restoration backing commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of land.”

Inger Anderson
                                                                                                                                       UNEP Executive Director

How can we protect the environment?

Sustainability is identified as the best way to protect the environment. Sustainability lies at the heart of addressing environmental issues. It involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Embracing sustainability encompasses various aspects of daily life, including adopting eco-friendly practices, reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting renewable energy. As individuals, we can also cooperate and protect the environment. Simple lifestyle changes, such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, and opting for eco-friendly products, can collectively have a significant impact. Whether it’s embracing plant-based diets, reducing reliance on single-use plastics, or supporting local and sustainable businesses, every choice we make contributes to the greater good of the planet. As well as that, the whole community can take on the stewardship of protecting the environment. Through collective efforts, they can implement sustainable practices, promote environmental education, and advocate for policies that prioritize the planet’s well-being. From organizing clean-up initiatives and tree-planting drives to supporting community gardens and renewable energy projects, there are endless opportunities for collective action at the grassroots level. The corporate sector has a huge responsibility to protect these things because they are one of the main accused of this offence. Embracing corporate sustainability involves integrating environmental considerations into business practices, supply chains, and decision-making processes. From reducing carbon emissions and implementing green technologies to adopting sustainable sourcing practices and promoting corporate social responsibility, businesses can become agents of positive change. In addition, the government should maintain this protection process. By enacting laws that protect natural habitats, promote renewable energy, and incentivize sustainable practices, governments can create an enabling environment for environmental stewardship. Additionally, international cooperation and agreements are essential for addressing global environmental challenges that transcend borders.

The laws are not enough for a system like protecting the environment. It should come from the heart of everyone, and attitudes play a main role in that process. So, fostering the young generation with ethics is essential to maintaining this. By integrating environmental education into school curricula and raising awareness through outreach programs, we can empower future generations with the knowledge and skills to protect the planet. Instilling a sense of environmental responsibility from a young age cultivates a lifelong commitment to sustainability.

“A little effort towards saving the environment is better than no effort.”

So, On World Environment Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to protecting the planet and embracing sustainability. Each of us has a role to play in safeguarding the environment for current and future generations. By taking individual actions, engaging with our communities, holding businesses and governments accountable, and educating future generations, we can collectively create a more sustainable and resilient world. Together, let us strive to be stewards of the Earth, ensuring that it thrives for generations to come.

Written by:

Vihanga Perera,

3rd Year Undergraduate,

Business and Environment Hons.

Faculty of Science,

University of Colombo.


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