Environment Day is a wake-up call for world

The United Nations World Environment Day (WED), observed globally on Sunday, is a wake-up call for the world community to take practical measures to protect the global forests.

This year’s theme is Forests: Nature at Your Service, which highlights the crucial environmental and economic roles played by forests.

Each year a different country is chosen as the principal venue for the WED celebration which falls on June 5 and this year the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) selected India as the global host.

India’s Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said: “The message is largely to the international community that India is willing and determined to play and is playing a very important role in defining the terms of environmental debate.

“On this auspicious occasion of celebrating today the World Environment Day, I congratulate the Unep for declaring 2011 as International Year of Forest.”

In fact, for seven billion of us, every aspect of our quality of life is intrinsically linked to the health of forests. And each one of us can play a role in protecting this vital life-support system.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need for survival. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually, equal to the size of Portugal.

But it’s not too late to transform business as usual into a future where forests are at the heart of our sustainable development and green economies.
Zimbabwe held an environmental exposition.

The fact that Zimbabwe held an environment exposition from June 1-3 to mark this year’s WED, tells a lot about a country that is going through political crises of some sort.

Just finding time to look at how Zimbabwe can do it right is a step in the right direction. The diverse composition of the exhibitors told a story of its own.

If Environment minister Francis Nhema can sustain these initiatives, Zimbabwe will definitely play an important role in defining the terms of environmental debate at global level.

This year’s theme underscores the variety of life-sustaining services that forests provide and calls us all to take action to protect these resources and move towards greener economies.

The world recognised the immense importance of forests as a global environmental agenda 40 years ago, but practical measures to protect and develop global forests are not up to the mark.

WED is a wake-up call for the world community to realise our land and water resources are under acute threat of degradation that would badly impact on lives of all creatures.

Climate change is posing a major threat to our economy and existence, and this is largely owed to Green House gases, emissions mainly from the anthropogenic sources.

Environment is what we live in and breathe in, but the bulk of the people would rather read, watch, listen or write about anything but the environment. It is as much of our own creation as it is of nature.

Life became possible on earth because it had an atmosphere conducive to sustain living beings.

But for us it became the proverbial goose which laid just one golden egg each day, enough for its owners to live comfortably.

Greed overpowered common sense and we killed the goose to get all the gold at one go. This has left us gasping for fresh clean air and panting for clear drinking water, let alone other basic necessities of life.

How does it matter to us if our summers are becoming hotter and winters cooler? We systematically pollute and deplete our natural water resources and then cling proudly to our bottled mineral water.

Love for our environment cannot be created merely by introducing environmental education as a compulsory subject in schools. It has to become a way of life to be inculcated from infancy through the influence of family and society.

Only if we could encourage our children to love and appreciate nature as much as the mobile phones, laptop and iPod, help them to realise the importance of trees by making them plant and nurture at least one; teach them to conserve resources by simply turning off the fan, light, tap when not in use; instill in them the dignity of labour by making them do small household chores; develop their taste buds to savour delicious but healthy food and teach them to be sensitive by loving, sharing, and caring for others!

On this WED, I decided against another piece on asbestos despite responses from a wide spectrum of readers among them lobby groups, environmental scientists and the government following an asbestos article last week.

What came out clearly from these interactions was asbestos is a toxic mineral that has been banned in the West but is widely used in developing countries, where it poses serious health threats to millions of people. The World Health Organisation says asbestos kills nearly 100 000 people each year.

Article excerpted from www.newsday.co.zw



About minesgreencircle

Founded in 2008, the Mines Green Circle is the special Green Environmental Unit of Palace of the Golden Horses and Mines Wellness Hotel for “Better Environment, Better Health”. It advocates green practices amongst the personnel of the Palace of the Golden Horses and Mines Wellness Hotels as well as its guests.

Posted on June 6, 2011, in Eco News and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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