What is World Environment Day, what is the theme this year, and how can you take part?

Today (5 June) is World Environment Day, the United Nations' initiative designed to encourage awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

World Environment Day has been taking place every day year 1974, and always falls on 5 June.

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Its mission is to engage governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

“The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature,” says the day’s official website.

“Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: To care for ourselves we must care for nature.

“It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices. It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.”

Here’s everything you need to know:

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What is World Environment Day?

“World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change,” say the organisers. “It recognises that global change requires a global community.

“It pushes for individuals to think about the way they consume; for businesses to develop greener models; for farmers and manufacturers to produce more sustainably; for governments to safeguard wild spaces; for educators to inspire students to live in harmony with the Earth; and for youth to become fierce gatekeepers of a green future. It requires all of us.”

What is the theme of World Environment Day 2020?

The theme for World Environment Day 2020 is ‘biodiversity’.

Across the globe, millions of species are in danger of extinction, at a rate that is only be exacerbated by recent and current world events.

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Bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia at the start of the year proved a damaging catalyst, and the current global disease pandemic is only straining the efforts of conservationists further.

These events “demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist,” says the day’s website. “Nature is sending us a message.”

Which country is the ‘host nation’?

Despite events taking place across the planet, every World Environment Day is technically hosted by a different country, in which official celebrations take place.

This year's host is Colombia, in partnership with Germany.

What events are happening?

Seeing as this year’s event is impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, its celebration will be taking place online.

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There is still a full schedule of events though, featuring high level speakers, expert panels, virtual tours of products and places, Goodwill Ambassadors, Young Champions of the Earth, film screenings, music sessions, and other events taking place in Colombia.

The full schedule can be found here