[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
Friday’s World Environment Day (5 June) comes at a pivotal moment this year, as the UN system is gearing up for its "Seal the Deal" campaign promoting a successful outcome for the Copenhagen climate change conference this December.
The Seal the Deal campaign seeks to encourage governments to successfully conclude a fair, balanced and effective agreement on climate change when they meet at the Conference of Parties (COP) 15 scheduled to take place in Copenhagen from 7-18 December.
"Seal the Deal" rallies around the world will be held between now and December where supporters can dip the “People’s Seal” in paint and add their stamp to a global petition which also is available online. The Secretary-General and other world leaders have already participated.
The "Seal the Deal" stamp is made of alloy recycled from used car engines. Robert Warren, a well-known artist based in Kenya, designed the stamp.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi is leading the day’s activities, a compilation of which is available online. Sample events around the world include picnics, foot races and beach and neighbourhood cleanups.
At Headquarters on World Environment Day, UNEP and the Department of Public Information are holding a "Seal the Deal" petition signing in the Public Lobby from noon to 3 p.m.
Additional stories related to the Day and Greening the UN are forthcoming. What follows is a short selection of notable activities and events.
One of the the day’s highlights is the global premiere of the new film HOME by world-renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand in more than 100 locations around the world. Screenings -- including star-studded premieres at the Eiffel Tower and in New York City's Central Park -- will be free of charge, and the film is also available for free download on YouTube.
Using the stunning aerial footage that is Arthus-Bertrand's trademark, the film -- shot in more than 50 countries -- makes an urgent appeal for our planet in peril and all its treasures, arguing that we have barely ten years left to reverse its destruction.
UNEP’s Climate Heroes: Adventure Activism for the Environment
One component of this year’s World Environment Day will be the launch of the Climate Heroes. This long-term platform supports a select group who are undertaking exceptional personal feats, high-profile expeditions and other innovative acts of environmental activism to demonstrate their commitment and to raise awareness.
These projects highlight environmental “hot topics” like CO2 output, finding smart solutions to beat waste and tree-planting. Their acts, and the attention they generate, will most importantly give voice to the movement of individuals and organizations across the globe who care about the state of our planet and want to see real change and real commitment.
On 2 June, UNEP Nairobi and the Department of Public Information collaborated to organize an international videoconference focused on plans for youth support for the "Seal the Deal" campaign. The videconference linked students from Nairobi, New York, Dhaka, Panama and London.
What staff can do
A month ago, UNEP began a countdown asked everyone to make a World Environment Day commitment by trying to incorporate “do something” environmental tips into their routines and to get others to do the same. An archive of tips shared earlier in the month is available.
As part of the campaign, UNEP is also using the twitter social networking site to raise green awareness. With the "twitter for trees" campaign, UNEP is pledging to plant one tree for every twitterer who joins by 5 June. The campaign is proving to be successful - the twitter page now has over 7,100 followers and the numbers are constantly going up. Join the campaign now at www.twitter.com/UNEPandYou.
Also in New York, the Permanent Mission of Mexico, in partnership with UNEP, will screen the documentary Between Fire and Water at 4 p.m. in Conference Room 4 on Friday, 5 June. All are invited to attend.
Everyone is invited to review the "Cool Planet" web site maintained by the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels, geared at generating interest and involvement in the climate change issue in Europe.
Keep reading iSeek for additional stories on how all everyone may be art of “greening the UN” and mark your calendars for "Climate Week," which will be observed from 20-26 September 2009.
More about the day
World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The theme this year is "Your Planet Needs You."
In the words of the Secretary-General, “our planet needs more than just action by governments and corporations; it needs each of us. Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose we can make a tremendous difference” [full message].
Videomessages for the day have been recorded by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and UNEP Cmmunications Director Satinder Bindra among others.
This year’s host is Mexico, which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change. Mexico is also a leading partner in the Billion Tree Campaign, having spearheaded the pledging and planting of some 25 percent of the trees under the campaign.