You have definitely heard of Earth Day, but have you ever heard of World Environment Day? World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5th, is both a global platform of both celebration and outreach. It is a day dedicated to calling awareness to the world we live in and how preserving it for future generations is more crucial than ever. If you are thinking that World Environment Day sounds pretty similar to Earth Day, you are thinking correctly! While the two days share a common goal of promoting a healthy environment across the globe, they do have a few slight differences. 

So, What’s The Difference?

The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970 and was organized by college campuses across the United States to educate people on the importance of environmental conservation and called for support of the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. The first Earth Day was attended by 20 million people across the United States and has since grown into a worldwide celebration, leading to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, also called the EPA, amongst other environmental health and safety acts. 

But, let’s get back to today, World Environment Day! The idea for this day was first born in 1968, when Sweden suggested a United Nations meeting to focus on humans and how they interact with the environment. After 4 years of preparations, the UN came together in 1972 and specifically discussed how to raise awareness and protect the environment, thus forming World Environment Day, or WED! Two years after this, in 1974, the first-ever WED was officially celebrated in Spokane, Washington with the slogan “Only One Earth.”

Earth Day is generally more of an action day; calling for individuals, communities, and organizations to come together and make a difference. World Environment Day is more of a platform; a day to promote sustainable practices and raise awareness about specific environmental challenges.

Who Doesn’t Love A Theme?!

Every year, World Environment Day is hosted by a different country (or region) and has a different theme. These themes specifically raise awareness about a challenge facing our world. Past countries that have hosted include China, Rwanda, and India, with past themes including, “Biodiversity,” “Beat Plastic Pollution,” and “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” Saudi Arabia is hosting this year’s event, with the theme will focus around land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience.

Similar Celebrations

In addition to today’s celebrations, countries around the world have similar environmental awareness days that happen throughout the year. 

  • India celebrates National Energy Conservation Day on December 14
  • Japan celebrates Greenery Day on May 4
  • New Zealand celebrates eDay on a rotating day each year
  • Russia celebrates Day of Protected Areas on January 11

Celebrations At Home

As a family, there are many ways to observe World Environment Day right in your own home and neighborhood! Reusing bottles or bags is a great way to reduce waste and recycle old materials. Check with your local recycling center to see if you are recycling the correct materials. Maybe you can turn a trip to the center into a monthly activity! Composting old food provides soil for gardening and planting  a tree near your home would provide shade and reduce AC usage in the warmer months. Other ways to conserve energy are to unplug technology when not in use, leaving the lights off when possible, and taking shorter showers. 

Local groups and organizations will also have volunteer opportunities available! What a great way to get involved in the community AND save the environment. Do you have any other ideas? Let us know and let’s protect Mother Nature together!

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