The nature, intensity, impact and urgency of the issue have changed over the decades
We have a day for everything these days — to commemorate achievements, remember people or events, to further advocacy for various causes or to inspire change or bring people together, among others — all with understandably varying impact, longevity, importance and following.
The World Environment Day has been a peerless pioneer, having been established in 1972 by the United Nations at Stockholm, conceptualised as a day for the entire world to reckon with the-then nascent problem of environment. It was first held in 1973, and set the tradition of having a theme for the entire year, which began with ‘Only One Earth’.
Governments, non-profits, educational institutions, religious institutions, corporations, influencers, change makers and common people, including the young, have all joined in the cause of raising awareness about environmental issues, global warming, pollution, dying forests, protecting endangered species, and advocated a plethora of recommendations, from legal to social, for different sub-problems.
The nature, intensity, impact and urgency of the issue have changed over the decades. From deforestation as a concern and planting saplings as a solution, to raising concerns about pollution of water, by noise, because of plastic and chemicals, to banning industrial chemicals and substances, to saving animals, birds and the living within the oceans, to depleting ozone layer, to green cover — we have transformed incessantly, as a planet, our risks have changed, but June 5 kept its duty of reminding us of our responsibilities each year.
The day of observation and introspection as an event came at crucial points of its journey to India twice — once in 2011 and the second time in 2018 — with the themes around saving forests, and defeating plastic pollution, respectively.
This year the theme is focussed on plastic, ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’, which will try to stress on the significance of taking quick solutions, accelerating our unified and aligned actions for higher impact, and moving towards a circular economy.