“Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.”
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Yesterday marked the World Environment Day (WED) with the theme: “Forest: Nature at Your Service.” This highlighted the link between quality of life and the health of the forests and its ecosystems. Likewise, it also corresponded with United Nation’s declaration this year as the International Year of the Forests.
India is the global host in this year’s WED. India has a rapidly developing economy with 1.2 billion people with tree-planting system and installed ways to protect agricultural land using windbreaks and shelterbelts.
What is World Environment Day?
WED is an annual event which is the biggest and widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. WED activities take place all year round culminating every 5th of June yearly, connecting everyone from everywhere.
This annual celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
Through this, the UN Environment Program is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.
This is a day for people from all walks of life to link together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations. This involves all sectors of society – governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, media and schools.
Why focus on forest?
It is alarming to know that 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually, equivalent to the size of Portugal!
Do you know that forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing crucial functions and services around the world which make the earth alive with potential. It plays a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
Forests aid to regulate the distressing impact of storms, floods and fires. They are known as the green lungs of the earth needed by us.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that the targeted investments forestry could generate up to 10 million new jobs around the world. However, forests need to become a universal political priority.
"The Green Economy initiative has identified forestry as one of the ten central sectors capable of propelling a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating future if backed by investment and forward-looking policies," said Achim Steiner, UN undersecretary general and UNEP executive director.
"WED is a day for everyone to act in support of forests and to nurture these green shoots of a Green Economy as the world looks towards how best to accelerate, scale-up and above all implement these transitions in Rio in 2012," he said.
How can we participate in WED 2011?
We can organize neighborhood clean-up with the whole community; plant a tree or collective planting; re-using and recycling of materials inside our house or company,; simply putting your trash in the bin; car free and biking moments with family, bird, fish or nature watching; green campaigns nationwide, etc. Thus, all these actions may restore the health of our environment, our planet.
WED encourages us to help preserve our national surroundings. This also promotes the systematic disposal of household and industrial waste that may conserve natural wealth and prevent the proliferation of diseases and unpleasant surroundings.
Groups like WWF are sorting information and experience in respect to plantations to maximize biodiversity and ecosystem services.
India has recently approved a national initiative to increase forest cover over five million hectares, improve quality of forest cover over another five million hectares and improve crucial ecosystem services provided by forests, such as hydrological services. The new Green India Plan aims to increase forest-based incomes for three million households.
In the Philippines, Bulacan governor promotes WED by passing the 2011 Environment Code in the province.
In essence this is an economic paradigm that each country must include and prioritize in order to unlock the full potential of forests in creating green economies.
This advocacy can be a daily habit to sustain and maintain the beauty of our surroundings and save our planet from global warming/ climate change. As an individual, or in a community, do you have other ways to contribute in our environment or in forest? Drop a note and we will truly treasure and share it.
PinoyVision advocates environmental campaigns.
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