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#OnlyOneEarth

Here is a small fact: There is only one earth.


I am in all truthfulness attempting to be motivated about this whole notion, though most people find themselves unbothered in believing me, no matter my protestations. I guess the idea that our only one earth is slowly dying is hard to grapple with.


Surprisingly, #OnlyOneEarth is the 2022 campaign for World Environment Day - a day celebrated annually on the 5th of June. It is the United Nation’s largest environmental platform to encourage worldwide awareness and action in combating the issues facing our environment today. This year’s campaign was particularly special due to the fact that it commemorates the day’s 50th anniversary after it was first established in 1972 in Stockholm.


Stockholm +50 (Photo from UN Environment)

In 1972, The United Nations held the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment between the 5th to 16th of June. In that particular conference, the World Environment Day was established. It was the first day of the conference and it was soon agreed that the 5th of June would be designated as World Environment Day.


World Environment Day would officially be first celebrated on the 5th of June 1973, and from then on, it would be commemorated annually. As the UN states, “World Environment Day is the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the world.” As for this year 2022, Sweden will be doing the honours in hosting World Environment Day, though it will still be celebrated globally by other countries.


I believe the idea first came about because a platform to raise awareness about environmental issues and hazards was needed, and thus, it was first conceptualised by the United Nations General Assembly in the 1972 Conference.


Ever since then, the World Environment Day still remains led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is still regarded as an important platform to reach and inspire the public to conduct climate action.


This year, the World Environment Day’s campaign focuses on ‘living sustainably in harmony with nature’. Presently, it is well known that the Earth faces three planetary emergencies being: the climate is increasing in temperature too quickly, making it hard for humanity and the animals to adapt; an estimated 1 million different species are being driven to be endangered with the prospect of extinction due to the loss of habitat and other pressuring factors, and the exponential rise in pollution found in air, water, and land. All of these are rooted in humans exploiting our planet for wealth, shattering the balance between the Earth and us with our own selfish needs.


As a result, the United Nations believe that on World Environment Day, nations should start transforming our economies and societies into being more ‘inclusive, fair, and more connected with nature’. Hence instead of harming the planet, we need to start healing it. The campaign this year is calling for collective and transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect, and restore our planet.


In the World Environment Day campaign, sustainable living is the default option in solving a lot of problems. This includes how we build and live in our homes, cities, workplaces, and areas of worship; how and where we invest our money; what we do for fun, and how we use or face larger factors like energy, production and transport systems, global trade, and the treatment towards the planet’s biodiversity. This means that individuals are crucial advocates today.


Stockholm +50 is a programme or international meeting that gathered leaders from around the world to ‘made calls for bold environmental action to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.’ In doing so, it gave a chance to avail oneself of 50 years of multilateral environmental action to reach the goal of a healthier future. Through this programme, there were several webinars, youth-led sessions, a series of regional multi-stakeholder consultations and a few leadership dialogues that provided many with an opportunity to participate in discussions and impact their views with like-minded or open-minded people.


In the universe are billions of galaxies. In our galaxy are billions of planets. But there is Only One Earth. Let’s take care of it.


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