June 23, 2024

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Main topics of World Environment Day

Main topics of World Environment Day

June 5 is World Environment Day and the theme will focus on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience, as announced by the United Nations Environment Program and Saudi Arabia, the host country.

This year’s theme stems from concern that up to 40% of the Earth’s landmass is degraded, directly affecting half the world’s population.

In fact, this issue also carries economic risks, as it is estimated that nearly half of the world’s GDP, about $44 trillion, will be at risk due to this situation.

Furthermore, the number and frequency of droughts have increased by 29% since 2000, and if urgent action is not taken, drought could affect more than three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050.

Attention has also focused on soil restoration, as a key pillar of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

“For this reason, World Environment Day 2024 focuses on restoring lands, stopping desertification and strengthening resilience to drought under the slogan: “Our Lands. Our future. We are the #RestorationGeneration,” the UN highlighted.

He warned that although we cannot turn back time, we can plant forests, revitalize water sources and restore soil.

Protecting the ecosystem is vital: United Nations

Therefore, in 2024, a call has been launched to protect and revitalize ecosystems around the world, an essential aspect of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

UNEP noted that this year the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification will be celebrated, so this June 5th is a cause for celebration.

While the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, from 2 to 13 December 2024.

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World Environment Day, celebrated every year on June 5, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972.

Over the past five decades, this celebration has developed into one of the largest global platforms for environmental publishing.

So, on June 5, tens of millions of people will participate online and through in-person activities, events and actions around the world.

They are calling on companies to take action

On this day, an “urgent” appeal is also made to businesses and society to take action to avoid global warming.

The international organization reminded that to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030.

“If we don’t act now, exposure to polluted air will increase by 50% this decade, while plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems could triple by 2040. But these will not be the only consequences,” he warned, adding that many more will follow.

The impact of the climate crisis is evident across the planet. Loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels, and intensification of extreme weather events are putting communities at risk.

Failure to act urgently will exacerbate these problems, leaving a disastrous legacy for future generations.

“We need to take urgent action to address these pressing issues, and make the One Earth initiative and its focus on sustainable living in harmony with nature more relevant than ever,” the UN said.

How does food production affect the environment?

The food industry has a significant impact on the environment, with food production accounting for more than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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In addition, half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture and 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are used for this essential activity, according to Our World in Data, an organization focused on global research on issues affecting the environment.

Other influences come from animal husbandry. For example, the organization points out that 94% of the biomass of non-human mammals is from livestock, which has a direct impact on land pollution, as this activity is responsible for emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane.

This is without mentioning that 14% of food is lost during transportation, which increases emissions depending on the proximity of delivery.

After food is purchased, most of it is wasted. It is estimated that approximately 2,120 million tons of food are wasted every year.

This waste, coming from food waste, is responsible for 8 and 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, because it generates methane in landfills and nitrous oxide in solid waste incineration facilities.

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