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These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ campaign for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.  The primary objective of this year's WED 2015 is to raise awareness about the  unsustainable rate at which we are consuming the planet’s resources and the need to shift individual and collective behaviour towards sustainable lifestyles.

A new UN report shows that the world could avoid the financial and environmental costs of resource depletion and save millions. That's why we need to find ways to manage our limited resources while meeting the needs of a growing and increasingly urban world population.

Climate change simply adds to the enormous challenge that this represents due to its harsh impacts on food production and entire social and economic systems. To meet this challenge we need to transition to more efficient and sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns, including by integrating them into national development planning and implementation by policy makers.

Over the years WED has grown to be a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. This year, WED takes stage on 5 June at the Expo Milano 2015, as one of the United Nation’s international celebrations. 

This year’s theme of sustainable consumption, supported by the slogan “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care” comes from the fact that we are extracting more resources to produce goods and services than our planet can replenish. Follow the Conversation on World Environment Day 2015 using the hashtag #WED2015.

See the World Environment Day Video.

Winning Back Sustainability

The result is that economic growth and social development cannot be sustained with our current consumption and production patterns (SCPs).

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), over 60 percent of the ecosystems and their services upon which we rely are degraded, overexploited or already lost. In his message for World Environment Day, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director also underlines that about one third of everything we produce is not consumed. Consequently, simply by consuming only what we need will benefit our environment through a better waste management pattern.

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity today is to maintain healthy growth rates to lift one billion people in the world out of their absolute poverty and carefully manage the natural resources required to sustain the expanding human population - all the while keeping environmental impacts within acceptable limits and sustaining life’s natural support system.

Campaign Built on Three Foundations

The campaign is built around three key areas: food, water and energy. Although substantial environmental impacts from food and energy occur at the production level, these are domains where households can act, according to their specific circumstances. In the case of water, households are relatively low consumers but population growth and expanded water use have outweighed the effect of water saving technology and behaviour.

You can see the activities at the WED taking place at Milan Expo. At a community or individual level, people can also be encouraged by what others are doing and you can pledge and register your own activity on the UNEP website.

Sign up for Action Yourself

Greater awareness will lead to greater action on all continents. For example, im Abomey Calavi in Benin, the Young Pioneers for Development non-governmental organization launched a reforestation and outreach campaign which will last the whole month, which includes planting 2000 K. senegalensis trees, outreach activities on trees species conservation and forest conservation and a social media messaging campaign through famous people in favour of greening our environment.

In Kingston, Jamaica, the National Environment and Planning Agency is organizing a poetry contest on the theme of WED. Students will participate and showcase their artistic talents by writing poems along the theme, "Our Planet, Consume with Care".

And you, what are you going to do today to contribute to the world’s efforts to consume with care? Let's all take action today!

 

Photo Credit: UNEP / Eastern Mediterranean University and Go Eco No Ego celebrate WED 2015 in Cyprus

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