World Environment Day

World Environment Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date5 June 2024
2025 Date5 June 2025

World Environment Day

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World Environment Day History

World Environment Day presents an opportunity for individuals and communities across the globe to reflect on the importance of preserving and protecting our planet. This annual event focuses on raising awareness about environmental issues ranging from deforestation to pollution. As a day designated by the United Nations, World Environment Day promotes the need for everyone to come together, making small yet significant changes to mitigate the impacts of the ever-growing ecological concerns.

The origins of World Environment Day can be traced back to 1972, with the inception of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. In Australia, with its unique and diverse flora and fauna, World Environment Day holds special significance. The Great Barrier Reef, being the world's largest coral reef system, is significantly affected by climate change, along with the eminent risk of losing endemic species like koalas and emus. By observing this day, Australians have an opportunity to understand and address the unique challenges faced by their local ecosystems and promote sustainable living practices.

In Australia, World Environment Day is typically celebrated through various activities such as tree-planting events, educational workshops, and awareness campaigns. Schools and local councils organise environmentally-focused initiatives that engage the whole community, from children to adults. These events provide practical and tangible steps for individuals to improve their environmental footprint and contribute to the overall health of our planet. Generally, the Observance occurs on the 5th of June each year.

World Environment Day facts

  • Approximately 70% of Earth's oxygen is produced by marine plants. The remaining 30% is generated by terrestrial plants, including trees and other vegetation.
  • The Earth's average temperature has risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. This is primarily due to human activities.
  • It is estimated that about 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forests are lost each year, equivalent to roughly 27 soccer fields per minute.
  • Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, and water scarcity is a critical issue. Mismanagement of water resources, population growth, and climate change are exacerbating the problem, leading to a strain on agriculture and increased water restrictions in urban areas.
  • Australia is a mega-diverse country, home to around 10% of the world's biodiversity. Despite this, Australia is facing an ongoing decline in biodiversity, with almost 1800 species and ecological communities currently listed as threatened.

Top things to do in Australia for World Environment Day

  • The Environmental Media Association hands out awards each year. Take a look at the nominees and winners and consider trying yourself.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about the environmental issues in Australia. Here are our top picks:
    1. The Bentley Effect (2017) - This Australian documentary showcases the successful campaign by a community in Northern New South Wales against unconventional gas drilling in their region.
    2. Guarding the Galilee (2017) - This documentary highlights the fight against the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, which threatens the Great Barrier Reef and local ecosystems.
    3. Fight for the Bight (2019) - This documentary tells the story of the Great Australian Bight and its fight against oil drilling companies.
  • Read a book to learn more about the environmental issues in Australia. Here are some suggestions:
    1. A Big Fix: Radical Solutions for Australia's Environmental Crisis by Ian Lowe - This book offers a comprehensive analysis of Australia's environmental challenges and proposes radical solutions for addressing them.
    2. Caught in the Act: the Feldt Tapes by Bob Feldt - This book gives an insider's perspective on the creation of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and other significant environmental initiatives in Australia.
    3. Silent Spring Revisited: Pesticide Use and Endangered Species by Philip M. Hunter - This book investigates the ongoing impact of pesticide use on Australian wildlife and the environment, drawing parallels to the themes explored in Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring".

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