World Environment Day
World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere. World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action. World Environment Day is also a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations. Everyone counts in this initiative and World Environment Day relies on you to make this happen! We call for action – organize a neighborhood cleanup, stop using plastic bags and get your community to do the same, plant a tree or better yet organize a collective tree planting effort, walk to work, start a recycling drive . . . the possibilities are endless. Forests: Nature at Your Service The theme for World Environment Day 2011 was Forests: Nature at Your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth's land mass, performing vital
functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities. They create and maintain soil fertility; they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires. They also provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations. They are the green lungs of the earth, vital to the survival of people everywhere -- all seven billion of us.
World Water Day
World Water Day Observed by All UN member states Date 22 March
World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as World Day for Water. This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, it is encouraged for the public to not use their taps throughout the whole day, the day has become a popular Facebook trend. The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.
Earth Day originally celebrated at Spring Equinox around March 20, is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment. Now Earth Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day. Earth Day is planned for April 22 in all years at least through 2015. The name and concept of Earth Day was pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. He proposed March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teachin first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day A sunset in the White Sea Observed by Date All UN member states 8 June
World Oceans Day, which had been unofficially celebrated every 8 June since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was officially recognized by
the United Nations in 2008. Since then it has been cordinated internationally by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network with greater success and global participation each year. Purpose World Oceans Day is an opportunity every year to honour the world's oceans, celebrate the products the ocean provides such as seafood as well as marine life itself for aquariums, pets, and also a time to appreciate its own intrinsic value. The ocean also provides sea-lanes for international trade. Global pollution and overconsumption of fish have resulted in drastically dwindling population of the majority of species. The Ocean Project, working in partnership with the World Ocean Network, has been promoting WOD since 2003 with its network of over 1,600 organizations and others throughout the world. These groups have been working to build greater awareness of the crucial role of the ocean in our lives and the important ways people can help. World Oceans Day provides an opportunity to get directly involved in protecting our future, through a new mindset and personal and community action and involvement – beach cleanups, educational programs, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events, and other planned activities help to raise consciousness of how our lives depend on the oceans.
World Population Day
World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, approximately the date on which the world's population reached five billion people. World Population Day 2012 Theme - “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services”.
Ozone Action Day
An Ozone Action Day, which can be declared by a local municipality, county or state, is observed at certain times during the summer months, when weather conditions (such as heat, humidity, and air stagnation) run the risk of causing health problems. Ozone Action Days, alternately called an "Ozone Alert" or a "Clean Air Alert", primarily center in the midwestern portion of the United States; particularly in well-urbanized areas such as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Indianapolis.
Surface ozone vs. the ozone layer
Although the ozone found at the Earth's surface is the same chemical species as that found in the ozone layer, they have very different sources, atmospheric chemistry, and affect human health differently as well. The ozone layer protects people from the sun's most damaging ultraviolet rays. Because the ozone layer is located high in the atmosphere, people are not directly exposed to it. Ozone is most likely to exceed safety limits from May through October when seasonal heat and sunlight are at their highest . However, similar conditions can occur at other times of the year in specific urbanized areas; namely the Los Angeles area, which is well known for smog formation. Sources of ground ozone A major cause of the conditions is due to pollutants in the air released by heavy industry (manufacturing plants, refineries, coalfired power plants). Therefore, Ozone Action Days occur most frequently in the Midwestern United States. In recent years, many sites have taken steps to help reduce the amount of pollutants they discharge. What can be done Heavy industries make up a high percentage of pollutants causing ground ozone. Without drastically altering or eliminating industrial production in an area altogether, air quality improvements are very slight, though noticeable. Non-industrial pollutants, while not thought of to be a major pollutant group, can be more controlled with more positive change occurring. Basic steps in limiting ground ozone during Ozone Action Days are:
Controlling of auto emissions
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Eliminate excessive engine idling Ensure automotive exhaust system functions properly Avoid unnecessary driving whenever possible Don't refuel until after 6:00 pm Take public transportation (Cities such as Toledo provide free bus service on Ozone Action Days).
Limit the use of lawn mowers and outdoor grills to after 6:00 pm Limit the use of aerosol cans around the home (for example, hair gel instead of hair spray)
World Rivers Day
World Rivers Day is a global celebration of the world's waterways, observed every last Sunday in September. Established in 2005, it highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness while encouraging the improved stewardship of rivers around the world. World Rivers Day occurs annually on the last Sunday in September.
Promoting River Stewardship
Rivers in every country face an array of threats, and World Rivers Day promotes the active involvement of citizens to ensure the health of rivers in the years ahead. Events include riverside cleanups, habitat restoration, nature walks, paddle trips, school projects, art displays, music festivals, and parades. Citizens are encouraged to join an event in their area, or start one of their own.