Alex Rose-Innes

Established in 1972 by the United Nations (UN) during the organisation’s Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the first World Environment Day was celebrated two years later, in 1974, with the slogan “Only One Earth.” It eventually led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme is (UNEP).

Now in its 47th year, it is celebrated annually on 5 June and is still considered as the UN’s principal vehicle for deepening public awareness of the need to preserve and enhance the environment. Every year a host country is selected for the main celebrations, this year

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.” This year also marks the beginning of the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

In South Africa (SA), this global celebration day would be celebrated under the banner of Think.Eat.Save. It is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages everyone to reduce their individual FOOD print.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.6 billion tonnes of food is wasted, equivalent to the amount of food produced in the entire sub-Saharan Africa region. It is estimated that one in every seven go to bed hungry every day and that more than 20 000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.

BLURB: – “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”. – Robert Swan *

With the coronavirus outbreak and people being confined indoors, the environment and mother earth seemed to have breathed a sigh of relief, cleaning itself and reclaiming its space from the billions of the Earth’s destructive inhabitants. But as with most issues, there seems to be a negative impact as well. While improving air quality and reducing water pollution, medical waste disposal had increased multi-fold and brought with it another challenge for the planet.

However, with increased awareness and global action being taken, World Environment Day 2021 may just turn the tide and bring a brighter future closer than ever.

*Robert Swan OBE is the world’s first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. He earned his place alongside the greatest explorers in history by accomplishing this feat by age 33. His 900-mile journey to the South Pole stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made on earth.