World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June and this year – in support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – WED has adopted SIDS in the broader context of climate change as its theme. UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors Gisele Bündchen, Don Cheadle, Ian Somerhalder and Yaya Touré are encouraging everyone to get involved in World Environment Day this year as they send an SOS to the world on behlf of SIDS. Their message in a bottle aims to get you to ‘raise your voice, not the sea level’, recognising that we are all connected and that the challenges that face islands are global challenges that affect us all – so every action counts.
You can join one of the celebrity teams and pledge your action for the environment to celebrate WED2014. The WED challenge aims to help build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September thsi year and encourage a greater understanding of the importance of SIDS and of the urgency to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly as a result of climate change.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and sea level rise
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that global sea levels are rising at an increased rate, which may have effects such as increased global temperatures, expansion of seawater and sea level rise when polar ice melts. Small islands are the most vulnerable to sea level rise and the effects of climate change – they are also places that have been successful at implementing environmental initiatives taht increase resilience and show real innovation – for example, by transitioning to renewable sources of energy, by restoring mangrove ecosystems which protect against sever floods and storms and growing corals in nurseries to rehabiilitate degraded marine environments that also provide protection against weather effects and a source of food and livelihoods.
Take Action this World Environment Day
Each celebrity Goodwill Ambassador is championing his or her own cause in support of this year’s WED theme, Raise Your Voice not the Sea Level. YOU can cast your own vote by pledging support to one of their activities at wedchallenge.com or on social media networks. Follow Gisele Bünchen, Yaya Touré, Don Cheadle, and Ian Somerhalder on Twitter and use the hastags #WorldEnvironmentDay #WED2014 and #WEDchallenge.