Commemorated every year on 5 June, since 1972, WED is a principal vehicle through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment.
WED 2011, in support of the UN International Year of Forests (IYF), is aimed to be the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive action for the environment. We count on you to make this happen! This year’s theme – Forests: Nature at Your Service – underscores the variety of life-sustaining services that forests provide and calls us all to take action to protect these resources and move towards a green economy.
The Republic of India will be the host for World Environment Day, 5 June 2011, for the first time since the celebrations began in 1972. This year’s commemorations are expected to be the largest and most widely celebrated globally.
Earth Hour is driven by the global community’s will to protect the planet we share.
Earth Hour’s exponential growth – from a single-city initiative in 2007 to a global movement across 128 countries in 2010 – is indicative of the growing desire for a cleaner, healthier world that is gathering momentum by the hour.
Across the globe plans are underway to make Earth Hour 2011 even bigger still!
At 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March 2011, Earth Hour will mark a moment of global contemplation to go beyond the hour; a collective commitment by individuals throughout the world to be the ongoing change they want to see in it.
Acid rain eating away at forests, chemicals from far away collecting in Arctic animals, changes in the chemistry of seawater, a mysterious virus from overseas – they’re distress calls from a planet where pollution is an increasingly global problem.
Picture yourself in a large, locked room. Now imagine that someone at the other end is setting off smoke bombs. At first, you might barely see or smell the smoke. Sooner or later, though, it will make its way toward you. Since the room is locked, you have no way to escape.
That’s basically the situation we’re all in when it comes to polluting our planet. Earth is large, yes, but it’s not infinite. Moreover, it’s a closed system. Whatever we pump into our air or water stays with us. More and more often, that’s causing global problems. Pollution from one place can make trouble hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This is called transboundary pollution.
It’s tempting, when reading about an environmental issue in some distant state or foreign land, to think, “Well, that’s not my problem.” In an increasingly globalized world, however, that thought rings less and less true. It’s growing ever clearer that problems in one place can affect distant environments and people. Here are just a few examples of what’s happening.
One of humankind’s worst ideas has also been one of its most persistent: the notion of deliberately using germs as weapons. Today, experts worry that terrorists may adopt this grim tactic, so they work to protect the public.
No one knows who were the first bioterrorists. That dubious honor may belong to Assyrian warriors in the sixth century B.C. They used a deadly fungus to poison the wells of their enemies. Germ warfare remained alive and well in the year 1346, when the Tatars attacked the Crimean city of Caffa on the Black Sea. They had suffered an outbreak of plague and decided to share it with their foes. To do so, they hurled the infected bodies of the dead over the city walls. Fleeing residents carried the disease to Italy, sparking Europe’s second major epidemic of the Black Death.
Beginning in 1492, the Europeans who came to America unknowingly brought with them diseases that wiped out huge numbers of natives. A few documented instances of purposeful bioterrorism occurred during the French and Indian War (1754-1767), when Britain and France vied for control of North America. British forces distributed smallpox-infested blankets to Native Americans who had sided with the French.
More goods and services are moving to more places than ever before. That’s not all. They’re moving faster and farther too. All that movement is changing the world in big ways.
Have you ever done a trade at lunchtime? Maybe you swapped an apple for an orange, or chips for pretzels. By trading, both parties wind up with something they like better than what they had originally.
Global trade, of course, is a lot more complicated. For starters, people usually sell goods or services for money rather than swapping them for other goods and services. Then there are the countless laws and treaties, with such names as NAFTA and GATT, governing international transactions. On top of that, nations often charge tariffs, or taxes, on items coming into the country.
Still, the goal of global trade is the same as your lunchtime swap: to make everyone better off. Does that actually happen? Yes and no. The big plus is that people can get an incredible array of affordable goods from around the world. The downside is that global trade can strain the environment and even pose risks to our health.
More people are going more places than ever before. All that movement has a huge health impact. As people move, diseases travel farther and faster than in the past.
People move. They always have; they always will.
Sometimes natural disasters, oppression, and wars drive people to migrate. Nearly four million Iraqis, for example, fled their homes between 2003 and 2007; half of them left the country. At other times, people venture in search of economic opportunity. Mexicans go to the United States, Turks to Germany, and Indonesians to Malaysia.