The World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principle vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness of the environment and responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. This years’ theme is Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.
Italy—a country at the forefront of global action towards improved global nutrition and resource use—is the global host this year. Gian Luca Galletti, Italian Minister for the Environment, remarked, “This year, WED will focus on the need to respect the carrying capacity of the planet and to manage natural resources efficiently—all aspects that are of utmost importance if we really want to ensure prosperity and wellbeing globally.” He continues, “I firmly believe in the benefits offered by sustainable consumption and production models in terms of economic opportunities, inclusiveness, employment, resiliency, and quality of life. We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the international and multidimensional arena represented by EXPO 2015 to stimulate greater thinking and action on these topics…”
Galletti’s remarks take on urgency in light of the current data which suggests that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide. For instance, expanded water use currently outweighs the effect of water saving technology and behavior. Further, energy use in OECD countries will increase by 35% by 2020 despite technological advances that have promoted energy efficiency gains. And although substantial environmental impacts from food occur in the production phase, households negatively influence these impacts through their dietary choices and habits. In short, ecosystems are being burdened with high population growth and economic development and they are nearing critical tipping points of depletion.
Sustainable living requires the recognition that the rising rates of natural resource use and environmental impacts are not a necessary by-product of economic growth. The United Nations has set aside World Environment Day to promote ways of life that respect planetary boundaries in order to ensure a healthy and sustainable future.
As hundreds of thousands of people from countries all of the world participate in individual and organize environmental action, please consider making your own voice heard this year. Share your activity on a social media platform and make your solidarity with the many others who share life on this Earth publicly visible. Together, we can enact social and environmental transformation that will have repercussions not only for ourselves but for future generations.
Find ideas for caring for God’s creation
Learn more about the Environmental Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Read the Eco-Journey blog
Explore becoming an Earth Care Congregation