Have you been meaning to start buying organic, to turn off your lights, or to start recycling but just haven't gotten around to it? Now's the time! This weekend, citizens of every nation will join together to celebrate World Environment Day.
India will host the 39th annual World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, an international event aimed at global awareness that encourages political action and attention to initiatives.
The UN declared 2011 the International Year of Forests with this year's WED theme Forests: Nature at your Service. In an effort to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and maintainable development of all types of forests, WED aims to develop green economies, conserve forests and insure that they will be around for generations to come.
India's 1.2 billion people have put a significant strain on the country's forests, but the Indian government has continually worked to find solutions to combat the deforestation. They have successfully introduced projects that track the health of the nation's plants, animals, water and other natural resources, including the Sunderbans - the largest deltaic mangrove forest in the world.
This Sunday, June 5th, India will join together millions of people from hundreds of countries around the world to highlight environmental activities that can teach individuals, schools, communities, states and nations to clean up their act and start thinking green.
Beginning today, major events are planned in New Delhi and Bangalore and include a Public Dedication of Tree Plantation to India for WED Legacy in Juanapur, Mehrauli, Delhi. A Biodiversity Film Festival in New Delhi will showcase some of India's best environmental and reforestation efforts, and viewers will have a chance to speak with environmental experts after the screenings.
25,000 runners will flood the streets of Bangalore on June 5th in the World 10K in support of WED. After the race, organizers and participants will inaugurate a 'World 10K Forest' at the Madiwala Lake complex in Bangaluru.
An organic and forest food celebrity cookout at the ITC Windsor Hotel in Bangaluru with goodwill ambassadors Gisele Bundchen, Don Cheadle, Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra and Rahul Bose, as well as Chinese actress Li Bingbing and entrepreneur Wang Shi, will highlight the stars' efforts for conservation. For every WED activity registered, you can pledge to Don or Gisele, Priyanka or Rahul, Li Bingbing or Wang Shi, depending on your location. For every pledged activity, the women will donate one tree. Not to be rivaled, the men will donate two.
A number of other countries around the world are joining in to support the cause, including:
NEPAL: UNEP is supporting a clean-up expedition to remove an estimated 9 tons of litter in and around Mount Everest. Enlisting some 60 climber volunteers, the long-term aim of the initiative is to develop more sustainable waste management facilities and recycling plants in the region.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: A major international summit on tropical forest basins will be held from 31 May to 6 June. The event will focus on the sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong Borneo basins.
CANADA: Toronto is the regional host city for World Environment Day celebrations in North America. Over 50 WED events have been registered including environmental workshops for students, a high-level consultation on the Green Economy with 40 environmental leaders, and a series of book readings for children.
COSTA RICA: A major success story in reforestation (having increased its forest cover from 22 percent in 1995 to 51 percent by 2010), Costa Rica will host participants from 15 neighboring countries for a training course on sustainable forest management.
Launched today, the 'MudaRock Project' - a free music download service in Brazil - will plant a tree in a reforestation area in Brazil for every song or video downloaded by users. The project aims to plant one million native trees within a year.
You can also learn how to live a greener life year-round with simple actions like:
- Switching from plastic to a reusable cloth bag.
- Turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth (you can save as much as 3 gallons every time!).
- Green your office: print double sided, turn off monitors, start an office recycling program.
- Bike, walk, take public transportation or carpool to work or school.
- Jog outside to save energy that would be used on a treadmill.
- Plant a tree.
- Get a lunch box instead of brown-bagging or eating out of takeout containers.
- Start a compost heap.
- Buy local fruits and veggies, or start your own garden.
- Think outside of the bottle. Bottled water costs 1900 times more than tap water!