World Environment Day (WED) is held every year on June 5th, and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment.It is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, which is in more urgent need of help than ever before, with many of the world’s flora and fauna fighting for their survival due to a booming illegal trade in wildlife.
The theme for World Environment Day (WED) 2016 is “Illegal Trade in Wildlife”.
World Environment Day (WED) is an annual United Nations event to raise global awareness, encouraging people around the world to take positive action to preserve our planet. The UN passed a resolution to preserve the natural environment on 5 June 1972. Every year since then, the 5th of June is celebrated in more than 100 countries across the world as a global platform for public outreach to raise awareness about environmental issues and to halt the growing strain on the planet’s natural systems and resources. WED is the ‘people’s day’ to do something positive for the planet, encouraging individual action that culminates in collective power and has a long-term, positive effect on the planet. WED is an opportunity to reflect on how your choices and actions affect the environment and all its inhabitants and to take action to minimise your environmental footprint and ‘be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Each year the UN selects a theme for WED, highlighting an area of concern and campaigning for positive change. This year’s theme is ‘Illegal Trade in Wildlife’, a practice that is sadly on the rise and is in danger of undoing decades of conservation victories.
Animal poaching is the second biggest threat to species survival after habitat destruction. This illicit trade threatens the planet’s biodiversity and means that in our lifetime we may witness the extinction of amazing species, including elephants, gorillas, turtles, rhinos and tigers (who now number as few as 3,890), as well as many other less celebrated species. These practices are grossly inhumane and undermine our economies, encouraging organised crime and fuelling corruption and insecurity in communities around the world.
Trafficking animal parts is a huge industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. As consumers we have the power to stop this savage and damaging trade by changing our buying habits and behaviour so the demand for wildlife-related products falls. Greater awareness puts more pressure on governments and international bodies to introduce and enforce tougher laws and combat those still willing to break them.
World Environment Day 2016 encourages you to celebrate endangered species around the world and to think locally and act globally, taking action in your communities to safeguard these animals for future generations. No matter who you are or you live you can make a difference by showing your support for zero-tolerance in the illegal trade of wildlife in word and deed.
Illegal trade in wildlife is just one of a plethora of planetary issues we are facing, including global warming, overpopulation and dwindling resources. As individuals we can make a difference, and when green minds think alike we can co-create a future we can all be proud of. Gold Coast Green Week offers a great opportunity to engage with community, be inspired by what others are doing, become more aware of environmental issues, celebrate the unique and beautiful city we live in and last but not least have tonnes of fun.