Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care. This is the theme that has been selected for World Environment Day 2015, which is celebrated annually on 5 June.
World Environment Day is a United Nations event that rallies people and organisations across the world to take part in raising awareness for the environment (and our one planet) and encourages positive action around select themes. It also empowers people to become active change-agents of sustainable development and advocates multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the environment.
About the World Environment Day 2015 theme
This year the WED theme recognises the importance of sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyles. There is mounting evidence that people are consuming more natural resources than the planet can sustainable provide, which puts the wellbeing and resilience of our future at risk. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.
WED 2015 aims to raise people’s awareness about their own patterns of consumption with the aim of changing people’s behaviour and encouraging them to lead more sustainable lifestyles. For example – people can reduce their carbon footprints, water use, support enhanced biodiversity and minimise the amount of waste they are responsible for. A great example is cutting down on the amount of food waste we each create. It is estimated that about one third of global food production is lost or wasted each year (averaging 1.3 billion tonnes) and that consumers in industrialised countries waste as much food as sub-Saharan African countries produce each year. This was highlighted in the 2013 WED theme of Think. Eat Save.
How the United Nations is creating a global shift towards sustainable production and consumption
The 10YFP on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns was adopted at the Rio+20 conference in 2012, as a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards SCP in both developed and developing countries. The 10YFP aims to develop, replicate and scale up SCP and resource efficiency initiatives, at national and regional levels, decoupling environmental degradation and resource use from economic growth, and thus increase the net contribution of economic activities to poverty eradication and social development.
2015 is an important year for sustainable development as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have framed the world’s development objectives over the last 15 years are expected to be replaced with a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are presently being defined collaboratively by governments and society from around the world. It is critical that these SDGs acknowledge that the challenges facing our world are interlinked and that an integrated, nexus approach to addressing them is needed. Sustainable production and consumption is likely to be included in these SDGs.
How to get involved in celebrating WED 2015
You can celebrate World Environment Day this year by helping to raise awareness about sustainable consumption and production in your community and by actively taking steps to make your own lifestyle more sustainable. Please share these with us via the comments section below.