Festive time is always a welcoming thought for us all, many of us even eagerly wait annually for certain festivals. Onam, Pongal, Dusherra, Diwali, Eid, Christmas… we celebrate them indifferently among ourselves. There are other cultural festivals that are unfamiliar, still celebrated exclusively, like our own. But something all persons of the world celebrate, observe and cherish is (or at least they should), is the World Environment Day, marked on June 5th. Every year the UN declares a theme for WED, and this year, not so surprisingly, it is ‘Beat Air Pollution’. This year’s Environment Day logo as I perceive it, portraits a fingerprint – united, organized and unique. It calls for united action from all of us, the people of the world to curb and reduce the effect of air pollution. It prescribes for organized and carefully orchestrated actions suiting our geography and facilities to zero out its effects. It is a unique occasion that the world as a whole must observe for the damage that we ourselves cause. It helps ring an alarm of its extent and spread awareness about protecting our Earth.
The UN General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment established WED. From 1974, we started observing it with the theme “Only One Earth”. Since then a lot has changed. But it was only in the last few years that WED’s effect actually started to manifest in the world. Gone are the days when we preach to reduce – reuse – recycle. We have crossed all limits for us to merely preserve exhaustive resources or plant more trees. The UN has set the Sustainable Development Goal for 2030 with an astounding 17 Goals and 169 Targets including climate action, life on land, life below water, among other sociological and environmental goals.
The host of this year’s WED chose the theme of Beating Air Pollution and holds that we need to bring about changes in our daily life. I couldn’t agree more! Whatever it is, from sustainable life choices to cleaner living, cleaner consumption and cleaner alternatives, we must start practicing it on a daily basis, for only then can it actually churn some positive results.
World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action. We must get in, get our hands dirty and do what it takes to mitigate the effects of dangerously polluted air that we exist in now. We sure can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of air that we breathe. As I write this, I urge everyone, every fellow human being to open yourself to cleaner, better living, make responsible choices and rather than “causing lesser harms”, completely shift to eco-friendly lives.