The world will celebrate the 38th World Environment Day (WED) today. The WED theme for 2009 chosen by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is “Your Planet Needs You! Unite to Combat Climate Change.”
World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in October 1972, to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and the adoption of the Human Environment Declaration in June of the same year.
Another solution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of the UNEP.
From 1974, the UNEP annually chooses a theme for world environment day to boost worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action.
With the development of industrialisation, humans created great wealth by making use of fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil, which has also brought on serious environmental problems caused by the emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
According to a UN report, the density of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased significantly due to human activities since 1750 and the density of carbon dioxide has reached the highest level in some 6,50,000 years.
The UN report estimates that natural disasters including floods and droughts will become more frequent and stronger than ever as glaciers all over the world have shrunk greatly due to climate warming.
The UNEP called on people to take concrete actions in this year’s WED theme because it is of great significance for individuals to be aware of environment protection, besides the efforts of governments, enterprise and organisations, in the face of climate change.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message to the 2009 WED, said “The economic and financial turmoil sweeping the globe is a true wake-up call, sounding an alarm about the need to improve upon old patterns of growth and make a transition to new era of greener, cleaner development.”