Essay on Environment Day
Everything which surrounds us is our environment and it includes both living and non-living component which in totality influences our life. On the one hand, its biotic factors include living elements like animals, and plants, etc. on the other hand; its abiotic factors include non-living elements like rock, soil, etc. Since the environment is seen as a crucial component of human life, it is imperative to safeguard the environment in any way that is practical.
Everything that affects human presence, whether living and non-living, belongs to the environment. It must be respected since it is essential to the efficient functioning of our daily lives. Long before the human habitat, there was the environment/nature and the amazing creatures that call it home. On the earth, every species coexisted peacefully, whether they were found on land or in the ocean. The unrest started when human civilization and industrialization got off to a bad start. When people first arrived on Earth, they treated the environment as a means to an end without considering the consequences of their choices or the regard they should have displayed for the environment, which supports life on Earth.
Sweden first proposed the idea of a UN conference focusing on human interactions with the environment to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) in 1968. Resolution 1346, in support of the idea, was adopted by ECOSOC. A conference was called by General Assembly Resolution 2398 in 1969, and the UN secretary-general was tasked with submitting a series of reports. The reports recommended that the conference concentrate on "stimulating and providing guidelines for action by national government and international organisations" in response to environmental concerns. The conference's preparations took 4 years, involved 114 governments, and cost more than $30,000,000.
The 'United Nations Conference on the Human Environment' was convened in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5-16, 1972, after the United Nations General Assembly resolved to hold it and accepted the request of the Swedish government to host it. As a consequence of this conference, the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, was founded, and World Environment Day was recognized in 1972 as a result of debates on the integration of human interactions and the environment.
The theme of the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which took place in Stockholm in 1972, was "Only One Earth." This helped to establish World Environment Day and placed sustainable development on the international agenda. World Environment Day has evolved over the years into a forum for bringing attention to environmental issues like food security, sea level rise, illicit wildlife trade, air pollution, and plastic pollution.
World Environment Day, organized by the UNEP and celebrated by millions of people worldwide every year on June 5 since 1973, is the most significant international forum for environmental outreach programs. Although this campaign was launched and first observed on June 5th, 1973, the maiden World Environment Day was commemorated in Spokane, Washington, in 1974. Ever since, it has been usually celebrated with a different theme every year.
Need for observing World Environment Day
The excessive amounts of pollutants are a threat to the environment. Pollutants are present in all three primary spheres that make up the environment: the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. The regular environmental conditions are being destroyed by the growing pollution levels. This environmental awareness day is observed to raise people's awareness of its protection and sustainable use.
The title of the inaugural World Environment Day in 1974 was "Only One Earth". Hence, since 1974, it has been celebrated as one of the United Nations' largest campaigns by United Nations Environment programme to raise public awareness of environmental issues such as overpopulation, climate change, and wildlife. The focus of the awareness campaign was environmental preservation. To avoid the effects of global warming, it is also important to implement a number of preventive actions. Since it is common knowledge that the destruction of our ecosystem is primarily caused by global warming. Hence, it is our obligation to safeguard the ecosystem. Additionally, halt all of the destructive exploitation. Because ultimately it is essential to our existence and that of future generations.
The commemoration of World Environment Day is observed by about 150 nations annually. To encourage environmental protection, a different issue is chosen each year.
Problems with Environment
Our surroundings are ever-changing. This fact is without dispute. However, as our environment changes, so does the need for increased awareness of the challenges it poses. People must be conscious of the various environmental issues our world is facing due to the tremendous increase in natural disasters, warming and cooling periods, varying kinds of weather patterns, and a lot more. World Environment Day also encourages changes in national and international environmental policies as well as consumption habits.
Global warming is now an established reality owing to how we live today; the globe is warming, and we are unquestionably a part of the problem. But this is not the sole environmental problem with which we need to be mindful. Humans all over the world deal with a wide range of novel, difficult environmental issues on a regular basis. While some of them are minor and only have a modest impact on a few ecosystems, others are fundamentally altering the world as we know it.
The term "environmental issues" refers to issues that have arisen with the planet's systems (such as the air, water, soil, etc.) as a consequence of human intrusion or maltreatment of the earth. These include pollution, population growth, waste management, and the greenhouse effect, among others.
Significant Environmental Issues Today
There are seven major categories of pollution: air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, light, and thermal. These are the underlying issues that significantly affect our surroundings. Each of these pollution forms is interlinked with and influences the others. Therefore, we must manage them all simultaneously.
It takes millions of years for pollution of the air, water, and soil to be cleaned up. Pollutants from industries and automobile exhaust are the two main types. Toxins that contribute to pollution include heavy metals, nitrates, and plastic.
While oil spills, acid rain, and urban runoff affect water quality, various gases and pollutants generated by factories and businesses and the burning of fossil fuels affect air quality, soil pollution is mostly brought on by industrial effluents that deprives soil of vital nutrients.
2. Soil Degradation
The degree to which the world's soils are suitable for growing crops impacts food security. Approximately 12 million hectares of cropland are substantially degraded each year, as per UN estimates.
Numerous factors can cause harm to soil. These include soil compaction, overgrazing, excessive exposure to environmental pollutants, monoculture planting, degradation, and a host of other factors. Today, there are numerous methods for preserving and restoring soil, including no-till farming, crop rotation, and terrace construction for water retention.
3. Climate Change
Human activities like the generation of greenhouse gases cause climate changes like global warming. Natural calamities brought on by global warming comprise flooding, the melting of the polar ice caps, an increase in sea levels, and unusual patterns of rainfall such as flash floods, storms, wildfires, droughts, heavy snowfall, or desertification.
4. Population Explosion
The world's population is at unsustainable levels due to a lack of resources like water, fuel, and food. Population expansion is putting further strain on already scarce resources in less developed and developing countries.
Chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and insecticides used in intensive farming to grow food harm the environment. Population expansion is among the most significant environmental challenges of the contemporary era.
5. Decreasing Forest Cover
Our forests naturally absorb carbon dioxide, release fresh oxygen, and aid in controlling temperature and precipitation. Currently, woods cover 30% of the area, but due to the rising population's increased demand for food, shelter, and clothing, tree cover is declining at a rate equal to that of the entire country of Panama. Deforestation simply refers to the removal of vegetation to make land usable for domestic, commercial, or industrial applications.
6. Melting of Polar Ice Caps and Sea Level Rise
The melting of the polar ice caps is a highly debated issue. The quantity of ice in Antarctica is growing, according to NASA studies, but this growth is just a third of the quantity which is lost in the Arctic. There is sufficient data to conclude that the sea levels are rising, with the melting of the Arctic ice sheets playing a significant role. In the long run, the melting of the polar ice caps may result in significant ecosystem degradation, severe flooding, and marine pollution.
Sea levels are currently rising by an average of 3.2 millimetres per year worldwide, and by the end of this century, they will have reached a height of nearly 0.7 metres. Since melting land ice is the primary contributor to increasing sea levels, the Greenland Ice Sheet presents the biggest concern for sea levels in the Arctic.
This could be the major environmental problem, which is rendered even more concerning by the fact that Greenland lost 60 billion tonnes of ice over the summer of 2017, which was sufficient to raise sea levels globally by 2.2 millimeters in just two months. The Greenland ice sheet shed a significant amount of ice in 2019: an average of a million tonnes every minute all year long. This is one of the critical environmental problems with global implications. There would be a six-meter rise in sea level if the entire Greenland ice sheet melted.
People who reside in coastal areas may suffer disastrous consequences as a result of rising sea levels. As per the research and advocacy group Climate Central, sea level rise this century might inundate coastal regions that are home to an estimated 340 million to 480 million inhabitants, pushing them to relocate to safer locations and adding to overcrowding and resource burden in those locations they move to.
7. Plastic Pollution
In 1950, the annual global production of plastic was above 2 million tonnes. By 2015, the volume of plastic waste in the environment has climbed to 419 million tonnes annually due to this growth in manufacturing.
According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature, each year, 14 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans, affecting both the habitats of wildlife and the creatures that dwell there. According to the study, the plastic catastrophe will reach 29 million metric tonnes annually by 2040 if nothing is done. By 2040, the total amount of plastic in the ocean might be 600 million tonnes if we factor in microplastics.
Surprisingly, 91% of all plastic ever produced is not repurposed, which represents not only one of the greatest environmental issues of our time but also a colossal systemic failure. Several generations will pass before plastic is entirely gone because it takes 400 years for plastic to decompose. What long-term effects plastic contamination may have on the ecology are difficult to foresee.
There are currently 4 times as many individuals on the planet as that existed at the end of the 1960s, and the majority of them consume roughly twice as much food. This is a contributing factor in the 30% of commercially fished waters that are considered to be "overfished." This shows that fishing waters are depleting more quickly than they can be restored.
Elevated levels of algae in the water, the disintegration of fishing communities, ocean pollution, and exceptionally high levels of biodiversity loss are only a few of the negative repercussions of overfishing on the ecosystem.
The FAO and UN are trying to preserve the share of fish stocks under biologically viable ranges as part of SDG 14 of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. However, this calls for substantially tighter ocean rules than those now in place. In a landmark agreement, the WTO outlawed fishing subsidies in July 2022 to lessen global overfishing. Moreover, subsidies for fuel, fishing equipment, and the construction of new ships only serve to encourage overfishing and are thus a significant issue.
9. Water and Food Scarcity
Increased water and food insecurity is becoming one of the most significant environmental issues of our time due to rising temperatures and unsustainable farming techniques.
Over 68 billion tonnes of topsoil are lost each year worldwide, 100 times more quickly than they can be naturally replaced. The soil, which is saturated with biocides and fertiliser, winds into waterways where it pollutes downstream protected lands and potable water.
Additionally, the paucity of root and mycelium systems that keep soil intact makes it more susceptible to wind and water erosion. Over-tillage is a major cause of soil erosion; At the same time, it temporarily boosts productivity by incorporating surface nutrients (such as fertilizer); tilling is physically damaging to the soil's configuration and, over time, results in soil compaction, fertility decline, and the development of surface crusts, all of which exacerbate topsoil erosion.
The FAO predicts that by 2050, the world's population, which is now projected to be 9 billion, may have increased by 70%. And over 820 million people worldwide will go without enough to feed. Around 3% of the world's water is fresh, and 2/3rd of that is locked in frozen glaciers or otherwise inaccessible to humans, making it difficult for us to ensure our own water security. Due to this, 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to water, and 2.7 billion experience water scarcity for at least a month of the year. By 2025, 2/3 of the world's population could be affected by water scarcity.
10. Ozone Layer Depletion
We are shielded from the sun's harmful rays by an invisible protective layer called the ozone layer that surrounds the earth. Chlorine and bromide, both of which are included in chloro-fluoro carbons (CFCs), are responsible for pollution that has destroyed the atmosphere's vital ozone layer. The largest hole in the ozone layer occurs above the Antarctic, where these harmful gases enter the upper atmosphere and cause it to become permeable.
Many businesses and consumer goods are prohibited from using CFCs. Because it keeps damaging UV rays from reaching the planet, the ozone layer is important. One of the most significant environmental issues today is this.
How do people celebrate World Environment Day?
The goal of World Environment Day is to inspire progressive change on a worldwide scale. This UN international day, in which more than 150 nations participate, brings civil society, governments, corporations, educational institutions, celebrities, cities, and local communities to promote environmental action and raise awareness.
Citizens from all over the globe gather on World Environment Day to take measures to safeguard the planet. Around the world, people observe World Environment Day (WED) in a variety of ways, including planting trees, maintaining local beaches, holding events, and participating in online demonstrations. The UNEP selects a certain theme to emphasize each year. It can be forests one year, and wildlife the next. Additionally, a different city serves as the host every year, serving as the focal centre for all the festivities.
From Cuba to Korea, Belgium to Brazil, and 34 more locations in 25 different nations have hosted the WED since its inception in 1974. Several countries, notably Bangladesh, Canada, and China, have organized significant festivities twice or more. However, this does not imply that all of the festivities actually happen in the host nation. Every year, participants from across the world participate in a vast variety of events to bring attention to the significant problem.
The demonstrations centre on a different issue every year. During the past 10 years, important issues included, among others, wildlife, forests, and plastic waste. Each environmental problem has a tagline. In the past, campaigns have used the themes "Think. Eat. Save." to encourage people to consider the problem of food waste, and "Raise your voice, not the sea level" to bring light and focus towards the effects that global warming is putting on small island nations throughout the world.
India also hosted this day twice in the year 2011 as well as in 2018. The planning of this Day celebration in India has been given to the National Security Council. Since 1999, it has been handling campaigns year after year.
Each year on June 5, people around the world observe World Environment Day to promote consciousness regarding environmental concerns, such as climate change and the worsening circumstances. This day serves as a reminder for individuals to be more thoughtful and conscious of the environmental circumstances that are currently present on Earth.
In an attempt to build a brighter future, individuals undertake efforts on World Environment Day to raise environmental awareness and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Because of the widespread use of technology and resources that are extremely damaging to the environment, our environment suffers as our society advances. In regards to encouraging and using sustainable resources, there is still much work to be done.
The year 2022 marks an important turning point for the planet as it has been 50 years ever since Stockholm Conference in 1972, which launched the movement for a more sustainable future for all. Numerous issues affect the planet, including climate change, biodiversity loss, rising carbon emissions, and non-biodegradable waste. Individuals can make wise decisions and strive to protect the environment by making the finest rational decisions with everyone's support and one small move at a time.
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