The 2013 World Environment Day was observed on June 5th. This event is widely celebrated across the globe and multiple activities take place leading up to the official day. World Environment Day celebrates positive environmental action and encourages the world to help the environment flourish. This event has taken place since 1972, and the United Nations sponsors it. It is just one of the many ways that the UN increases global awareness in regards to the environment. The UN encourages action of individuals and of governmental bodies to do the right thing and help the environment flourish.
The United Nations Environment Programme attempts to create environmental messages that are personalized, and wishes to spread the importance of environmental issues. Each individual is responsible to the environment, and they have the power to create social change in order to achieve sustainable development, and to protect the world. The theme of the 2013 World Environment Day is “Think, Eat, Save.”
Think, Eat, Save is a campaign to raise awareness on food waste, as well as food loss. Enough food is produced each year to feed the entire globe, and yet each year 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry, and over twenty thousand children die each day from hunger. This only includes children under the age of 5. Each year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. This is roughly the same amount of food that is produced in the entirety of sub-Saharan Africa, and could be used to feed the world. Every individual has the capability of reducing her or his “foodprint,” and this year’s World Environment Day focused on that very issue.
About a third of food production across the globe is either wasted or lost; this type of waste hurts natural resources and has a negative effect on the environment. It can even hurt countries such as the United States, because we could be putting the wasted food to better use. The Think, Eat, Save campaign encouraged individuals to take action from their home by simply eating less, and by doing so, they keep from creating waste, and save their money, too. Think before you eat and you can save!
“Greening the Blue” is a part of the World Environment Day movement that encourages the world to make a pledge to attempt to reduce their individual “foodprints.” Participants who wished to do this did several things: took the amount they could eat, spent one meal a week without meat, used reusable utensils, shared World Environment Day with friends, drank tap water, and recycled. These are all very simple tasks that, if multiple people follow through, could make a larger effect. A second part of World Environment Day is a competition called “Love Your Leftovers.” This competition asks individuals to submit a recipe online that they use to create delicious meals with their leftovers. The competition ended on May 26, but the message remains relevant: make meals out of leftover food, instead of simply throwing them away.
Overall, World Environment Day includes multiple initiatives, and Greening the Blue and Love your Leftovers were just two examples. Although the day has officially passed, if individuals continue to support the idea of saving food and reducing waste, it could have a global impact.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: UNEP, Planet Powai, Greening the Blue
Photo: European Commission