World Environment Day

Created by the United Nations in 1972, World Environment Day is a day designed to bring global awareness and direct action for the preservation of the Earth. It is celebrated each year on the 5th of June, not only in the United States but also throughout the world.

Since its inception, it has served as a political and social platform for individuals, governments, and celebrities wishing to make a public outreach and to express their concerns for the environment.

Every year, there is a different theme for this day, and it is hosted in a different city. For example, in 2006, the theme was “Deserts and Desertification; Don’t Desert Drylands!” and it was hosted in Algiers, Algeria. In 2019, the theme was “Beat Air Pollution,” and the event was hosted in China.

In 2021, the theme was “Generation Restoration,” and it was hosted in Pakistan. As can be seen from the holiday celebrations of the past, each theme is designed to bring attention to a particular environmental issue.

The History of World Environment Day

In 1972, the United Nations established World Environment Day at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Sweden was kind enough to host this event, and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant invited Maurice Strong to lead the event as the Secretary-General of the World Environment Day Conference.

The idea of a conference was first conceived and suggested by Sweden to the UN ECOSOC (Economic & Social Council) in 1968 to bring attention to how humans are interacting with and affecting the environment. Resolution 1346 was passed by ECOSOC in support of the idea.

The following year, in 1969, General Assembly Resolution 2398 was passed, setting the date for the conference in 1972 and mandating that a set of reports be authored by the United Nations Secretary-General suggesting that the conference focus on stimulating and providing guidelines for action by governments and international organizations on environmental problems. When preparations were put into effect for the conference, it involved over 110 governments, cost $30 million, and took four years to set up.

The first World Environment Day was held in 1974 in the host city of Spokane, Washington, in the United States. The theme of that WED (World Environment Day) was “Only One Earth.” The following year, the theme was “Human Settlements,” and the host city was Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since those two initial WEDs, this holiday has had a different theme and host city every single year.

Quick Facts About the Environment

Below are some quick facts we discovered about the environment as we worked on this holiday. We hope that the following pieces of information will inspire everyone to get out there and do something for the environment.

Humans Only Use 1% of the World’s Available Water

Approximately 71% of the Earth is made up of water. About 96.5% of all the world’s water is in the oceans, and about 2% of that water is in the ice caps. The rest exists as freshwater, as water vapor, and in rivers, ponds, glaciers, etc. Humans can only use about 1% of all the water on the planet.

Ten Million Trees Are Cut Down Annually To Make TP

Every year, approximately ten million trees are cut down to make toilet paper. That’s over 27,000 trees flushed down the toilet every single day worldwide.

Celebrations and Observances for World Environment Day

Aside from the scheduled events from the United Nations Environment Programme, people around the world celebrate this holiday in several different and personal ways. Below are some suggestions on how to celebrate this day in your own unique way.

Walk or Use Public Transportation: A great way to celebrate World Environment Day is to make a promise to yourself that you will walk, bike, or use public transportation more in your own life.

Design and Start a Garden: There is probably no better way to celebrate this day than by taking the time to start your own garden or to begin the practice of composting.

Practice Recycling: You can take the initiative to recycle your trash. Start by separating your trash into aluminum, glass, and paper. If there isn’t a recycling program in your area, then maybe you can start one!

Start Your Own World Environment Day Event: With some planning, you can start your own event. You can either use the themes presented by UNEP or create your own. Invite friends and family over and make it a celebration no one will ever forget.

People who don’t want to necessarily take part in this holiday but still want to show their support can do so by using the hashtag #WorldEnvironmentDay on their social media accounts. This will raise the profile of the holiday and allow more people to join in on the fight for humankind to save their environment.

Where is it celebrated?
Moldova (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
June 5 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
June 5 Thursday
Last year (2023)
June 5 Monday
Nature & Environment, United Nations