World Environment Day

World Environment Day - Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Cause Climate Change Conservation Environment Global Focus Health Wildlife

World Environment Day urges all of us to protect our natural surroundings. The stunning facts? An estimated 7 million people die each year from causes related to air pollution, with a majority occurring in the Asia-Pacific region. This day, which falls on June 5, encourages worldwide activism. That means everything from littering to climate change. World Environment Day is both a global celebration and a platform for public outreach.

China, which now owns half the world’s electric vehicles and 99 percent of the world’s electric buses, hosted the 2019 event. “The country has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically,” said Acting Head of UN Environment Joyce Msuya. “It can now help spur the world to greater action.” The UN first established World Environment Day in 1972.

Issues such as pollution, climate change, deforestation, and human overpopulation have drastically changed the way the world works. Because of the significance of these issues, the United Nations created World Environment Day to help educate people about the consequences of human activity.

World Environment Day is a holiday all about teaching people about environmental issues, giving people the opportunity to change the habits they have that are affecting the environment and work towards change.

Learn about World Environment Day

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ main vehicle for encouraging action and awareness in terms of protecting the environment. The day has been held for many years now, with the first World Environment Day occurring in 1974. It has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on different environmental problems and issues that are emerging because of wildlife crime, global warming, human overpopulation, marine pollution, and other problems. On this day, we are encouraged to learn more about these issues and how we can protect the environment, as well as encouraging others to broaden their knowledge as well. 

History of World Environment Day 

World Environment Day is an important example of how people should care for the environment, raising awareness of the increasing levels of pollution, human overpopulation, and climate change.

The holiday was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Inspired to help create change in the world, the first celebration of the holiday occurred two years later, becoming a huge success.

Since then, it has grown to become a global platform for discussions about the environment, spreading awareness of the effects of human activity. Since then, World Environmental Day is celebrated in over 100 countries and each year, a theme is chosen to help draw attention to a particular concern. 

Hosted by a wide variety of sponsors, World Environment Day presses environmental change through education, hoping to inspire action in people all over the world. Each country hosts events talking about the environmental problems specifically affecting that country.

On this day, people register for activities sponsored by the holiday and take part in humanitarian and environmental activities, such as helping third-world countries, planting trees to regrow forests, cleaning up beaches and side roads.

The ultimate goal os this holiday is to inspire long-term change, where people make the choice to take part in changing their habits, such as changing to LED lightbulbs, recycling and conserving energy. 

World Environment Day has grown massively over the years. There are 143 countries that participate in this day annually. There is a new theme that is assigned to this day every year, giving governments, celebrities, communities, NGOs, and corporations direction when it comes to different events they can plan and ways that they can raise awareness for this important day.

Some of the different themes that have occurred over the years include the likes of “Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator,” “Beat Plastic Pollution,” “Time for Nature,”, and “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” Every year, there is also a host nation for the event. For example, India hosted World Environment Day in 2011, with Brazil taking on the honor in 2012. In 2019, China held the day, with the theme being “Beat Air Pollution.” The 2020 version of World Environment Day was hosted by Colombia in partnership with Germany. 

How to Celebrate World Environment Day

If you want to see what World Environment Day is all about, register for a local event near you and learn about how human activity has affected the world we live in. Invite friends and family members to join you and help them learn about what people can do to help the environment.

If those events inspired you, volunteer for a clean-up crew, help out a recycling station or pick up garbage in your local area. Share information about climate change with your friends and encourage them to change their habits to help reduce the effects of climate change in people’s lives.

As mentioned, there is a different theme every year, so it is a good idea to look up the theme and then you can base your efforts on this. This could be anything from taking part in a local event or learning more about the host nation and their environmental issues. You could also post messages on social media to raise awareness about the date and the specific them for this year. 

There is a lot of great content online, and it only gets better and more diverse as we build-up to World Environmental Day. So, you can do a little bit of digging online to find out more. A good place to start is with the Earth Anthem poem, which Abhay K has penned. This is often sung on World Environment Day as the day’s anthem. It goes as follows: 

Why not have a go at creating your own poem that you can share with others for this date? You could even create a piece of artwork that is about saving the planet. There are many different mediums that can be used to communicate the messages that are associated with World Environment Day. You don’t have to be a naturally creative person in order to put together something powerful that comes from the heart. It is a different way to engage with people and raise awareness. Of course, fundraising and volunteering your time are recommended as well.

History of World Environment Day

World Environment Day (WED) is one of the more unique and special holidays because of its history and its many firsts. It was created on the first day of the first-ever UN conference which focused on humans and how they interact with the environment. 

However, this didn’t happen overnight. Sweden first suggested having such a conference to the UN way back in 1968. And in 1969, the UN agreed that after 3 years they would have a conference in Sweden that focused on environmental issues. Interestingly enough, the conference was led by Maurice Strong, a Canadian diplomat who worked in the oil and mineral industry, who also had a soft spot for the environment.

Finally, it all came together in 1972, after 4 years of preparations and $30,000,000 later. World leaders from around the world sat together to discuss how they can raise awareness to protect our environment — and it was then WED was made. Then 2 years later, the first-ever WED was celebrated with the slogan “Only One Earth.”

Ever since then, WED has been completely embraced by people everywhere, so much so that it’s even slowly creeping into pop culture (and we love it!) Celebrities around the world all encourage people, in their own unique way, to do their part and “ save the world”. Fan-favorites Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep are some of the many who constantly speak out about environmental awareness. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re a famous actor, an athlete or a student in college: gather your friends and spend a day outdoors doing fun activities towards preserving this beautiful planet. Believe us when we say, you’ll have a blast and feel so much better afterward.

World Environment Day timeline


China hosts World Environment Day

China raised awareness of the 7 million people who die annually from air pollution with the slogan  “Beat Air Pollution”. 


A dream debut for World Environment Day.

The first World Environment Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.


First UN Conference based only on the environment.

Maurice Strong finally led the discussions about marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming.


The idea is born  

Sweden suggests to the UN to have a conference that is focused on the environment.

World Environment Day FAQs

Is global warming real?

From the data gathered it seems so, and according to NASA, the debate is now moving from if humans are responsible for global warming to how is the best way to respond to the problem.

What fun activity can you do on World Environment Day?

Either by yourself or with a group of your friends or even family members, plant a sapling (young tree) and take a selfie with it. Don’t forget to post it on your social media with #SelfiewithSapling.

How often is World Environment Day celebrated?

Every year on June 5 World Environment Day is celebrated. The cool thing is, almost every year a new country hosts the holiday and since it was first celebrated 34 different cities in 25 countries have hosted this day.

5 Interesting Facts About World Environment Day

  1. Solar Panels

    The largest solar farm, Yanchi Ningxia solar park in China, can provide up to 1 billion watts.

  2. CO2 Vacuum Cleaner

    Developed in Switzerland in 2016, giant machines capture CO2 to clean the air we breathe.

  3. The Ocean Cleanup

    Backed with $30 million and led by a 22-year-old, this company uses U-shaped screens to catch garbage in the ocean.

  4. Plant-Based Plastic

    Created by an Indonesian company, it’s made from agricultural leftovers like corn, sugarcane, etc.

  5. Eco-Friendly Batteries

    Developed in the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden using upgraded aluminum.

How to Observe World Environment Day

  1. Make a commitment to recycle

    It might seem like a basic tip, but are you really taking every possible opportunity to recycle? Next time you're thinking about throwing that piece of paper in the trash because a recycling bin isn't accessible, think twice. Holding a plastic container and too lazy to see if it's one of the biodegradable kinds? Open up your smartphone and look it up! Everyone's responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions — including you.

  2. Plant a tree

    Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Placed strategically around a single-family home, they can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.

  3. Volunteer

    Anyone can volunteer, and volunteering can make a difference to the whole community. Get out of your comfort zone by volunteering for the National Park Service, or stay local by volunteering at your farmers market. Any way you choose to participate, you'll feel the positive impact of getting out of the house and caring for the planet.

Why World Environment Day is Important

  1. It reconnects us to nature

    Sometimes we forget just how much natural systems support our own well-being. But we're part of nature, and we depend on it. So today's the perfect occasion to go out and enjoy your country's national parks, and celebrate the vital relationship.

  2. It raises awareness

    More and more people are starting to understand that we need to sustainably manage our planet's resources and ecosystems. However, that belief is far from universal. That's why World Environment Day is so important: it provides an occasion to raise awareness and teach friends and family that the physical environment is fragile and indispensable. But before you begin promoting environmental awareness in your own community, make sure that you have a thorough understanding of environmental issues yourself. There's always more to learn!

  3. It encourages us to take action

    The environment has become increasingly polluted with contaminants and toxins, and these have a harmful impact on our health. They can cause respiratory diseases and cancer—and that's just for starters. By raising awareness of the issues with the air that sustains us, World Environment Day inspires us to do something about it and fix the environment we can't live without.

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