From the WED website
The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is Green Economy: Does it include you? Evidently, there are two parts to this theme and the first tackles the subject of the Green Economy.
Visit the ‘What is the Green Economy?’ page to read a layman’s narrative of this concept.
The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.
Practically speaking, a Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes.
But what does all this mean for you? Well, this essentially what the second part of the theme is all about. If the Green Economy is about social equity and inclusiveness then technically it is all about you! The question therefore asks you to find out more about the Green Economy and assess whether, in your country, you are being included in it.
It takes only a few simple steps to easily green your daily routine and make good eco behavior into a habit!
A Act now. Adopt as many eco-friendly lifestyle choices as you can and make them habits for WED! Add it up. Our impact is exponential when the global chorus sings together.
B Buy FSC certified products and decrease the trade of exotic wood from endangered forests.
Bring a cloth bag to do all you’re shopping. But not just for groceries, even on your trips to the mall. A sturdy, reusable bag will last for years, and only needs to be used 5 times to have a lower environmental impact than a plastic bag.
Bring a mug with you whenever you go for take-out beverages, so you avoid using paper cups. Most paper cups are made in a way that makes it more difficult for them to degrade, and in some ways more hazardous to the planet than the plastic cup – so why not just bring your own mug for your favorite beverage?
C Consume locally. You will help reduce the demand for cutting down forests in foreign countries to meet export demands.
Choose public transport. Compost your organic food waste. Conserve energy. Turn off the lights to brighten our environment. Create a greenspace wherever you can from the car you drive to the building you live in.
D Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. You will save as much as 3 gallons every time! Only 2, 5% of the world’s water is drinkable. Discover an alternative to using traditional wrapping paper for holidays and birthday gifts.
E Engage in an environmental activity like school or neighborhood beautification or tree planting.
Eat organic and locally grown foods and help reduce the clearing of forests for agricultural land.
Educate your friends on how individual actions can have an exponential impact and motivate action for WED.
F 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, or energy-efficiency.
Form a tree-planting group with family and friends and commit to planting and maintaining these trees together.
G Green your office: print double-sided, turn off monitors, start an office recycling program.
Grow an organic garden and your own delicious food.
Give memberships to an environmental organization or seedlings as birthday gifts.
Go electronic for bills and payments: at home, in the office, at the bank etc.
H 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!
I Identify the nature that surrounds you – take note of the beautiful plants and animals that you may not always appreciate. Learn about the amazing ecosystem services they provide.
Improve the insulation of your home – it will really help your energy consumption…and your monthly bills!
J 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!
K Kick the habit! Don’t print unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when you do print – always print double-sided!
Keep your cup! When traveling on airplanes, ask to reuse your plastic cup.
L Learn more about Brazil, this year’s host country.
M 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!
N 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.
O Optimize the use of your washing machine – use the cold-wash option and significantly save energy and reduce your daily carbon emissions.
Offset your travel whenever possible – most airlines provide an option to offset your travel when you book your tickets.
Opt for public transport whenever possible.
P Plant a tree this year! Why not celebrate by planting a tree with friends or family.
Pile up! Lay the grounds for a compost pile and start sorting your garbage.
Q Quantify how much money you could save each cold winter if you lowered the temperature inside your home by 2 degrees Celsius. It could reduce your energy consumption by 14 percent!!!
R Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Register a WED activity at www.unep.org/wed!
S Sacrifice something small each month – eat locally grown vegetables instead of imported vegetables; do without steak as cattle ranching is high impact!; carpool with co-workers; take your bike to work etc.
Support and motivate companies that use certified materials and operate in ways that are environmentally responsible.
Switch your lightbulbs to energy-efficient LED’s. You will see substantial savings on energy bills!
T Think! How green is your daily routine? Just by making a few small changes, like remembering to turn off the lights, turning down the heat, stop running the water while you brush your teeth – you could cut your daily emissions by more than 60 per cent.
Think again! Before you toss, consider if the item can be reused or recycled?
Think outside of the bottle! Bottled water costs 1900 times more than tap water
U Use your common sense!
Understand your options. Learn about the small ways you, as an individual, can make a positive impact on the environment.
Use rainwater for your indoor plants – they love it, and you’ll save water at the same time.
V Visit the WED website regularly and see how you can get involved! Book mark website, subscribe to RSS, Twitter or facebook
W Whenever you feel like buying books, magazines, or newspapers go to your local library or borrow from friends and neighbors.
X X-plore! Get out into the forest and enjoy what our planet has to offer.
Y YOU! You can make a difference – individual actions, when multiplied, can make an exponential difference to the planet!
Z Zip around town on your bike, on public transport, or your own two feet. Avoid your car whenever possible – it’s cheaper!
“Three weeks after WED, Brazil will host Rio+20 where world leaders and nations will gather in order to design a future that takes sustainable development from theory and patchy success to the locomotive of transformational change-a pathway that can grow economies and generate decent jobs without pushing the globe past planetary boundaries,” he added.
Brazil has had a checkered history on the environment front but it seems that there is some hope and it is worth working with the country as it will be very influential in the future.
With a country of 200 million people, Brazil is the fifth most populous nation in the world and has the fifth largest land mass on the planet with 8.5 million square kilometers
In recent years Brazil has taken enormous steps to tackle issues such as deforestation in the Amazon through enforcement efforts and monitoring initiatives by the Brazilian government.
Indeed by some estimates, Brazil recently realized one of the biggest greenhouse gas emission reductions in the world as a result of its achievements in reducing deforestation rates.
According to UNEP’s Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, the country is also at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs.
- Brazil’s recycling industry generates returns of US$2 billion a year while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes.
Recycling in all its forms already employs 12 million people in three countries alone: Brazil, China and the United States.
Brazil is also the world leader in sustainable ethanol production for fueling vehicles and is expanding into other renewable areas such as wind power and solar heating systems.
- The recent construction of 500,000 new homes in Brazil with solar heating systems generated 30,000 new jobs.
“We are very pleased to host this global celebration for the environment. The World Environment Day will be a great opportunity in Brazil to showcase the environmental aspects of sustainable development in the warm up to the Rio+20 conference,” said Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, who this week is attending UNEP’s Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The history of Brazil, the complexion of its diverse and dynamic economy with its natural and nature-based resources allied to its industries and its current and future role in international relations, offer a lens and a unique perspective through which a broad-based, transformational outcome is possible at Rio+20,” said Mr Steiner.
“Brazil’s commitment to social and equity issues nationally and regionally and its responsibilities towards developing and least developed economies can also guide and shape the debates,” he added.
And from Cultural Survival
To honor this year’s World Environment Day, take action!:
1. Learn about the impacts of oil palm plantations on the environment. Watch The Sustainability Lie.
2. Stop Oil Palm plantations from destroying Cameroon’s ancient rainforests.
3. Learn about the 2012 theme for World Environment Day. “Green Economy: Does it include you?” The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Simply, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.