World Environment Day: Here are ways to connect 'people to nature'

If you’ve visited Google on Monday, chances are that you have stumbled upon the Google doodle.

A tree grows from the l in Google in an alteration of Google’s symbol. If you click on the all-green Google symbol, you are taken to a page that says 'environment'. Renewable energy, air pollution sensors, tracking illegal fishing, ways to save energy are only some terms among thousands that are found on the page.

Today’s Google doodle is dedicated to the environment; it celebrates World Environment Day, an important event cum fest that encourages people to move out and experience their environment with all their senses.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

As per the World Environment Day website, the day can be remembered as ‘people’s day for doing something to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change.’ It is a crucial day in the United Nations’ calendar in order to encourage worldwide awareness and action for environmental protection. Since it's inception in 1974, World Environment Day has grown and turned into a global platform for public outreach. Over 100 countries celebrate Environment Day. Individuals are free to contribute in their own way — small or big, in a group or individually.

A pressing environmental concern is generally chosen as the theme for the day. The theme for 2017 is 'connecting people to nature'. This year, the event will be hosted by Canada. The official website says that "the focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces, and supports the effort to address them."

Individuals can register their activities on the site so that others can participate in these activities. Registrations have been closed currently.

So how will you contribute to World Environment Day?

If you are from Mumbai, you might lament over the deplorable conditions of the beaches there. One simply could not walk without holding one’s nose on these beaches. However, in recent years, several citizen groups have come together to clean up several beaches in Mumbai, including Chimbai, Juhu, and Versova among many others.

Citizens groups have organised clean-up drives and on World Environment Day they upped the ante by cleaning 160 tonnes of garbage from Versova beach. A report by The Times of India mentions that approximately 2,000 volunteers, including school children, turned up to remove filth from the beach.

Other than celebrating World Environment Day, World Ocean Day was also celebrated when India head of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Vijay Samnotra, and others contributed '100 coconut trees for a plantation drive along the beach.' A total of 1,000 bank employees volunteered to clean the beach, and they were joined by Class IX students of Mount Mary High School, Goregaon.

#WorldEnvironmentDay is the hashtag people are using to share a photo or video that matters most to them. #WithNature is also being used.

In Australia, an entire festival was organised on Sunday to commemorate World Environment Day. Known as the WED Festival, the one-day event is celebrating 38 years. The WED Festival involves band performances, food stalls, bars, events, speakers, and art installations.

Reminding citizens of the need for a greener environment, Bangkok City Hall was lighted in green, as per a tweet:

Kerala will witness plantation of saplings, when according to NDTV, the Students Federation of India (SFI) will plant five-lakh saplings across educational institutions to commemorate World Environment Day. Additionally, seminars and debates related to Environment Day will be conducted. Passing on a staunch message on climate change, UN General Secretary António Guterres urged everyone that acting consciously is the smartest thing to do:

DNA reported that Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan said that the true sentiment behind World Environment Day should not be limited only to a single day, but it should last till the next Environment Day and beyond.

He particularly emphasised the need to awaken Indians and to create positive energy. Furthermore, Vardhan urged people to 'use public transport more, use cycle, reduce the use of air-conditioners and work towards realising the vision of Swacchh Bharat.'

The depleting health of oceans will be discussed when the UN will be holding a conference on oceans from 5 to 9 June:

Besides conferences, clean-up drives, festivals, and many other events, World Environment Day is meant to do good for the planet in any way possible. With the planet's health diminishing, future generations might not be able to witness the fast-disappearing environment — marine or natural. Contributing to World Environment Day is simple — one simply 'answers the call of the wild.'

Updated Date: Jun 05, 2017 16:51 PM

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