World Environment Day (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Eco Float2022 marks 50 years since the conference which led to the designation of 5th June as World Environment Day. ‘Only One Earth’ was the motto for the 1972 Stockholm Conference and half a century later, do we doubt that this planet is our only home, whose finite resources are running out?

World Environment Day 2022 will be held again with this same theme, ‘Only One Earth’, to highlight again the need to live sustainably in harmony with our ecology by bringing transformative changes through policies and our own choices, moving towards lifestyles more in line with the natural cycles of Nature.

World Environment Day is the United Nations‘ main way to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment with participation from the vast majority of countries. Along with the United Nations’ International Panel for Climate Change Reports, World Environment Day attempts to raise awareness on issues such as marine pollution, human overpopulationglobal warmingsustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Each year, the program provides a forum for businesses, governments, non governmental organizations and communities to advocate environmental causes.

According to this year’s United Nations’ ‘Making Peace with Nature’ report, transforming social and economic systems means putting Nature’s real value at the heart of decision making at every level.

And if leaders worldwide are not listening to a lifetime of advice from the united experts of the nations of the whole planet, will we here in the UK listen to our own experts at Her Majesty’s Treasury? The Das Gupta report, produced by our own Treasury only a year ago says: (and I quote!)

“Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature.  We have collectively failed to engage with Nature sustainably, to the extent that our demands far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on.  Our unsustainable engagement with Nature is endangering the prosperity of current and future generations.  At the heart of the problem lies deep-rooted, widespread institutional failure.”

And how are we to heal?

“The solution starts with understanding and accepting a simple truth: our economies are embedded within Nature, not external to it.  We need to change how we think, act and measure success and ensure that our demands on Nature do not exceed its supply, and that we

  • increase Nature’s supply relative to its current level.
  • change our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path.
  • transform our institutions and systems – in particular our finance and education systems – to enable these changes and sustain them for future generations.”

Fine words- and as individuals, we too can play our part in changing the way we view the world as a partner in our lives, not as a resource to be used.

The report concludes:

“Transformative change is possible – we and our descendants deserve nothing less.”  Hear hear!

Visit the Sussex Green Hub on the last Saturday of the month to be inspired.

by Morag Warrack