World Environment Day – International Year of Biodiversity -2010

The United Nations Environment Program UNEP is coordinating  World Environment Day 2010 (June 5th) as well as the International Year of Biodiversity.

We can be cynical about these celebratory days and years but as long as we link awareness raising with action at all levels then it may be worth doing. Having been involved in environmental learning for more than 40 years it seems as if we are only making small tentative steps, but in terms of the age of the planet (I taught Geology also)  perhaps our steps will make a real difference.

As well as political change (still too slow) we need to broaden the audience who are willing to take unselfish action on behalf of the next generations and build real capacity for sustainable development.

Some activities of WED include:

Youth gather in Rwanda for WED TUNZA conference

Young people from around Africa gathered today for the start of the TUNZA Regional Youth Conference held in the WED global host country, Rwanda. The conference will provide an opportunity to show the work Rwanda and UNEP on biodiversity, and to highlight regional challenges. In total, 35 participants will take part in the conference with the theme – African Youth Standing up for Biodiversity.

From the WED website comes an A-Z of action ideas:

WED A-Z Countdown

Act now.
Adopt as many eco-friendly lifestyle choices as you can this WED and make them habits!
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Be a vegan once a week (no animal products).
Bring a cloth bag to do all your shopping. But not just for groceries, even on your trips to the mall!
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Car-pool or Choose a Hybrid. Hybrid cars produce 90% less pollutants than comparable non-hybrid cars.
Cut your carbon footprint by Changing to energy-efficient bulbs.
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Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. You will save as much as 3 gallons every time!
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Engage in an environmental activity like school or neighborhood beautification or tree-planting.
Educate your friends on how individual actions can have an exponential impact and motivate action for WED.
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Find an unusual insect in your garden. Fewer than 10% of the world’s described species have been assessed to determine their conservation status.
Form a group of peers or colleagues to oversee the greening of your school, neighborhood or workplace with recycling, car=pooling, energy-efficiency)
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Grow an organic garden.
Give memberships to an environmental organization or seedlings as birthday gifts.
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Host a World Environment Day celebration. Clean up your neighborhood, carpool with friends, have a vegan (no animal products) dinner party! And don’t forget to register your activity on the WED website!
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Identify the nature that surrounds you – take note of the beautiful plants and animals that you may not always appreciate.
Improve the insulation of your home – it will really help your energy consumption…and your monthly bills!
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Join a local environmental or conservation group. You can team up with those around you and make a real difference for your community.
Jog outside and save the energy you would have used on the treadmill!
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Kick the habit! Don’t print unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when you do print – print double-sided!
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Learn more about Rwanda, this year’s host country.
Leave a WED legacy. For every action registered on the site, $10 will go towards gorilla conservation in Rwanda.
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Mobilize your networks!
Message your friends about WED – facebook, twitter, orkut, SMS, text, phone, email – it doesn’t matter how, just get the word out!
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Nominate a WED Hero from your world. Notify us about the great environmental work they’re doing and why they should be a WED Hero.
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Optimize the use of your washing machine – use the cold-wash option and significantly save energy and reduce your carbon emissions.
Offset your travel whenever possible – most airlines provide an option to offset your travel when you book your tickets.
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Power down! – The International Energy Agency estimates that standby mode could be causing a full 1 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
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Quantify how much money you could save each winter if you lowered the temperature inside your home by 2 degrees Celsius. It could reduce your energy consumption by 14 per cent!!!
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Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Register a WED activity at!
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Sacrifice something small each month – eat local fruit instead of the imported fruit; do without steak; carpool with co-workers.
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Think about your daily routine. Turn out your lights when leaving a room.
Just by making a few small changes you could cut your daily emissions by more than 60 per cent.
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Use your common sense!
Understand your options. Learn about the small ways you, as an individual, can make a positive impact on the environment.
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Visit the WED website and see how you can get involved! Every year. Everywhere. Everyone.
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Whenever possible, it’s a great way to exercise and save energy.
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International Year of Biodiversity

Websites for more information:

WED website:

Our world map of WED activities:

The gorilla-naming competition:

The official website of the gorilla-naming ceremony:

The Pittsburgh celebrations:


10:10 campaign:

and for the International Year of  Biodiversity 2010:


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