Shaping a greener future on World Environment Day

On June 5, the world comes together to celebrate World Environment Day 2024, a day that serves as an important reminder of the value of environmental protection and sustainable living. Each year, this day serves as a platform for global awareness and action, connecting individuals, communities and countries in their efforts for a call to action for a better and greener future. This year’s theme, organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is ‘Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience’. The main goal of this day is to protect our planet’s valuable land resources, combat desertification and withstand drought.

Land degradation, desertification and drought are major challenges for ecosystems, biodiversity and human well-being, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. From the expanding desert sands to the dry soils of drought-stricken places, the impacts are extensive, affecting food security, water availability, livelihoods and socio-economic stability.

Impact of World Environment Day

World Environment Day is essential as it serves as a vital platform for raising awareness about pressing environmental issues such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Furthermore, it celebrates progress and success stories in environmental conservation, inspiring further action and commitment to protecting our planet for future generations. Some of the ways countries around the world have come together to save the planet and make a positive impact are as follows:

Planting trees: Ethiopia planted more than 350 million trees in one day in 2019. This massive reforestation was intended to combat deforestation, increase biodiversity and mitigate climate change.

Reducing plastic waste: India has taken a bold step by announcing its commitment to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022. This ambitious target has already led to a significant reduction in plastic waste. Communities, businesses and individuals have embraced alternatives such as cloth bags, reusable containers and eco-friendly packaging.

Clean-up campaigns: Nairobi, Kenya, witnessed inspiring community-driven clean-up campaigns. Volunteers, schools and local organizations came together to remove more than 500 tonnes of waste from streets, parks and water bodies.

Stricter pollution regulations worldwide: Countries around the world have recognized the urgency of tackling pollution. For example:
a) China has made significant progress in reducing air pollution by limiting emissions from factories and vehicles.

b) European countries have introduced cleaner energy sources and promoted public transport.

c) The United States has tightened regulations on industrial pollutants and hazardous waste disposal.

Why is this theme important?

Land restoration

Land restoration is a key pillar of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). Currently, up to 40% of the world’s land area is damaged. Restoring this country is very important. When we restore land, we can:

  • Increase biodiversity: Restoration efforts create healthier ecosystems that support a wide variety of plants and animals. For example, planting native trees and plants can provide habitats for birds, insects and other wildlife, allowing them to thrive.
  • Improve soil health: Make the soil better for growing food crops, fruits, vegetables and trees.
  • Fight climate change: Restoring land can help combat climate change by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide that plants and soil absorb from the atmosphere. For example, restoring forests and wetlands can sequester significant amounts of carbon.

By participating in land restoration, we help create a healthier planet for future generations.

Image credits: Pexels

Combating desertification

Desertification is a major problem for our planet. When dry areas grow, fertile soil turns into arid areas, which harms people’s lives and nature. World Environment Day 2024 focuses on ending desertification through better land management practices. We can combat desertification by:

  • Planting trees: Trees help keep the soil healthy.
  • Save water: Use water carefully and sensibly.
  • Growing drought-resistant crops: Planting crops that require less water.

By doing these things we can protect our valuable country.

Improving resilience to drought

Droughts have devastating effects on communities, agriculture and natural habitats. Building resilience to drought is crucial. Individuals, communities and governments can take action by:

  • Save water: Using less water in our daily lives.
  • Use of efficient irrigation methods: Water crops more efficiently.
  • Support for drought policy: Support policies that help us prepare to combat the effects of drought.

Ways to participate in World Environment Day 2024

  1. Planting trees: Trees play a crucial role in land restoration. Organize tree planting campaigns in your community or participate in existing initiatives. Every tree counts!
  1. Teach: Spread awareness about the environment and the latest challenges facing desertification and drought resilience. Organize workshops, webinars or educational events to inform others about sustainable land practices.
  1. Save water: Water must be used wisely. Fixing leaks, taking short showers, collecting rainwater and practicing water-saving habits both at home and at your workplace can be some ways to save water.
  1. Support sustainable agriculture: Choose produce from farms that prioritize soil health and sustainable practices. Encourage local farmers to use environmentally friendly methods. For example, agroforestry, crop rotation, etc.
  1. Sustainable living: Practice eco-friendly habits such as reducing water and energy use, minimizing waste, recycling and choosing sustainable products. Small changes in daily routines can collectively have a significant impact on the environment.
Image credits: Pexels

In short, World Environment Day 2024 is not just a celebration, but an important reminder of the work ahead towards a greener future. The collective efforts of individuals, communities, governments and organizations can lead to substantial progress in restoring and protecting our environment. Let’s use this day to commit to the actions needed to restore our planet. Whether it’s small personal changes or large community projects, every effort counts. Together we can make a difference and ensure that our earth thrives for generations to come.