The theme for 2017 World Environment Day is “Connecting People to Nature” – perfect for a day that celebrates nature and its important role in maintaining the health of the only planet we have. This worldwide event, falling on June 5 every year, asks us to think about our place in the world as caretakers of the Earth and how everyone can help improve and save the environment, even if it means starting small. Whether it’s organizing a neighborhood clean-up or planting more trees in your backyard, anyone can make a difference. World Environment Day, since its beginning in 1972, is a time to give back to nature.
This celebration, created by the United Nations Environment Program, is the biggest annual event for positive environmental policy. Canada, the host of 2017, will be at the center of celebrations around the world. Schools in Canada are taking part in the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge in the six weeks between Earth Day and World Environment Day. In 2016, participants were able to collect more than 2 million bags for recycling. Let’s see if 2017 can break a new record!
From Kenya to Australia, Mexico to New Delhi, and Malaysia to Switzerland, this year, individuals and companies are enjoying many events to celebrate nature. People are holding “green expos” to reduce their carbon footprint, attending “Green Business” workshops, picking up litter from beaches and coastlines, planting trees to restore rainforests, creating nature-painting exhibitions, and even throwing a “trashion show,” where contestants strut down a catwalk in outfits made entirely from recycled materials. How cool is that?
Nature gives us everything we need and World Environment Day gives us a chance to return the favor. Here are 5 simple and fun ways to celebrate this day!
Connect with Nature
Instead of staying indoors and watching TV, go outside and hike nearby trails! Get your feet dirty, jump in a lake, see wildlife up close, pick up pieces of trash along the way, or even collect ingredients to make compost for plants in your front garden. There is an entire world beyond the pixelated screen of a television just waiting to be explored and cherished for the resources it provides! If you live by the beach, organize a clean-up to prevent plastics from harming marine life in the ocean, start a fundraiser on the boardwalk to donate to the Nature Conservancy, anything to help promote the cause of saving the environment. So, put down the iPhone and get started!
Celebrate At Home
On a time crunch? If your schedule is too jam-packed to attend environment festivals in town, there are plenty of ways to contribute to World Environment Day in the comforts of home! You can turn off the lights when you leave to save energy (and use energy-efficient lightbulbs), wash clothes with cold water and dry them on a clothing line, plant a vegetable garden for a healthy-living and money-saving alternative to going out to dinner, and recycle and reuse items as often as possible. You can also buy a fuel-efficient car or take public transportation to work or eat less meat or, as an activity geared toward personal and mental growth, learn how to do yoga! Helping the environment doesn’t require a huge amount of work and it will not only benefit the world, but you too! Nature is calling!
Raise Your Voice, Not Temperatures
Want to take more action to fight climate change? Beyond the home and out in the world, you can celebrate World Environment Day by participating in environmental marches in the city, climate protests, public forums and panels, and political movements that call for greater action in environment policy, one that benefits the environment, rather than the pockets of politicians. You have the ability to raise your voice, spark change, spread awareness, educate people, and make things happen. Getting involved takes only one step toward making a difference and you can start right now! Let’s make our 2017 World Environment Day one of the most memorable and substantial events the world has ever seen!
Festivals, Parades, and Fairs
A great way to find World Environment Day celebration events near you is to visit the main WED website. It provides a list of events within 100 miles of your current location. For instance, I live in Northern New Jersey and there are plenty of things to do to celebrate June 5th in New York City. The Purpose Wellness Team is coordinating a fun time at Washington Square Park by New York University. Food, music, and activities will be held to encourage people to spend more time outdoors under the sun and in nature. A concert will also be at the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston, NY. The band, Gathering Time, a folk-rock harmony trio, will entertain to celebrate nature’s special day! Look for events around your area!
Spread the Message
A final way to celebrate World Environment Day is to keep the passion and the fight to protect the environment going. You can visit elementary or middle schools to educate children on ways to improve nature and how they can contribute to the cause. Children are the future generations of the Earth; they will walk into the world from which we left. It’s important that the environment continues to be protected and celebrated every single year. Spread the message to our youths!