By Bob Aston
The well-being of
humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately
depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Evidence
is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the
planet can sustainably provide.
The World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on 5th June to raise the global awareness about the importance of the healthy and green environment in the human lives, to solve environmental issues by implementing some positive environmental actions as well as to protect nature. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The WED theme this year is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." The theme is emphasizing the need to embrace sustainable exploitation of resources and live within the planet’s resources. It also underscores the importance of the environment as a common good that provides livelihood to all mankind.
|Pupils of Kio Primary in Laikipia West plant trees during a past WED celebration|
WED celebration began in 1972. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
WED is an opportunity for everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents of change. Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose they can make a tremendous difference.
According to Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Executive, with the global population forecast to reach 9 billion by mid-century, demands on the depleted resources will only compound, exacerbated by increasing pollution, conflicts over resources, and the effects of an atmosphere being rapidly heated by human greenhouse gas emissions.
|Pupils make balls by recycling plastic bags|
Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realized. Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.
Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. Focusing on forest management, reducing greenhouse effects, promoting bio-fuels production, promoting coral reefs and mangroves restoration, use of solar water heaters, energy production through solar sources as well as developing new drainage systems are some of the ways of ensuring green and healthy environment.
In Kenya, Narok Town in Narok County has been selected as venue for the national WED 2015 event. The area is home to important ecosystems including the Maasai Mara Reserve, Maasai Mau forest block as well as the Mara River which is the life line of the region. These ecosystems are under constant threat from human encroachment and can be depleted if there are no concerted efforts to conserve the same.