Worldwide | UNEP
This year, World Environment Day included beach clean-ups, citizen scientists, and a shaft of green light at monuments across the world.
Thousands of people across six continents have joined massive clean-ups of beaches and parks, countries are protecting 1,600 square kilometres of land, and over 30 iconic landmarks were lit up in green in a powerful demonstration of humanity’s love for nature on World Environment Day.
Celebrated on 5 June each year, World Environment Day is the largest global day for positive environmental action. This year, the main celebrations have been hosted by Canada under the theme of connecting people with nature. Nearly 1,700 events were registered on the website for the day.
“Our entire modern life, with its skyscrapers and smartphones, stands on a delicate foundation of natural systems,” said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim. “Today, these foundations are shaking, undermined by man-made climate change, deforestation and extinctions. No amount of advanced technology will save us if we destroy and pollute our natural lifeblood.”
Around the world, people joined clean-ups on beaches, riverbanks and in the mountains. In India, Bollywood stars, politicians and hundreds of schoolchildren helped plant 500 palm trees along Versova Beach in Mumbai, along with UN Champion of the Earth Afroz Shah, the culmination of a massive 18-month clean-up there.
In a BioBlitz organized with iNaturalist, UN Environment is encouraging people to become citizen scientists from 1-12 June by mapping Earth’s amazing diversity of plants and animals. So far, nearly 5,000 people have submitted 50,000 observations. Experts use the data to identify species at risk.
And as dusk swept across the planet, dozens of landmarks and iconic buildings were illuminated in green in a show of solidarity with the environment, from the Water Cube in Beijing to the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. In New York, the Empire State Building was bathed in green.