Let us stand up to climate change
June 5 - the World Environment Day - is an important day for all
persons in our global village but especially for those who are committed
to give a human face to environmental issues.
World Environment Day is a vehicle through which the United Nations
stimulates world wide awareness of the environment enhancing political
attention and action.
Each year, World Environment Day follows a theme.
The theme for 2009 “Your Planet Needs You-Unite to Combat Climate
Change” obviously focuses on people and nations combining to combat the
ever-growing problem of climate change and the effects that come along
It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the
crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later it
the year, and the links with overcoming poverty and improved management
Across the world we’re focussing on how we can get ready to adapt to
changes in our climate, highlighting the things we can all do to ensure
that we are well prepared for the effects that climate change will
In fact, this day invites us to action alongside the commemoration.
For example, UNEP has now launched a new and more ambitious phase-the
Seven Billion Tree Campaign.
This aims to see more than one new tree planted for every person
alive by the Copenhagen meeting as one empowering symbol of the global
publics’ desire for action by their political leaders on the greatest
challenge for this generation.
We should encourage participation of our people in this Campaign
where individuals, families, communities, organizations, business and
industry, civil society and governments, and religious organizations
should be encouraged to plant trees and enter their tree planting
pledges on the web site: (http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/).
Another way of taking action is to educate yourself and your
community about the upcoming Copenhagen Conference of Parties, December
7-18, 2009. This gathering of 189 major governments is the 15th such
climate change conference aimed at combating greenhouse gas emissions.
It will work towards a new global climate agreement (post Kyoto
Protocol which expires in 2012) that incorporates all the countries of
the world. Approaches to forestry and carbon trading are some of the key
issues this year.
Let us be in solidarity with people adversely affected by climate
change. Let us recognize that Earth will only be our home as long as we
learn to respect and care for the whole community of life and learn
humility about our place in it, that we take action to protect and
restore the integrity of life systems, and that we work for sustainable
development for all people. Let us change our hearts.
We have increased our dependence on and use of non-renewable energy.
We increase rather than decrease our carbon footprint.
We continue to use water as a commodity while 2/3 of the world
population lives with water scarcity or stress. We destroy many of our
forests and mismanage others. Our tropical forests and coral reefs are
under threat from human activity, and yet both could be sources for
life, food and health care.
We contribute to global warming such that our glaciers retreat and
shrink, putting all life forms at risk. Flooding and droughts put the
food security of hundreds of millions at risk.
We contribute to global warming such that increased sea and air
temperatures result in rising sea levels, putting whole islands and
their inhabitants at risk. We do not alter our ways and sufficiently
care for or welcome those migrants and refugees displaced by drought,
flood, or lack of food. Today, we stand at a critical moment in Earth’s
history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the
future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we
must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures
and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a
We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society
founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice,
and a culture of peace.
Toward this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth,
declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of
life, and to future generations
As UNEP stresses in their agenda, “Let us empower people to become
active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an
understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards
environmental issues; and, advocate partnership which will ensure all
nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future”.