By Hanna Nur Afifah Yogar/Indonesia
Edited by Rubina Karki/Nepal
Graphic by John Myron Gadiane/ATO - ClimatEducate Project
This is the 48th year - We are about to enter the “Golden Age” of the World Environment Day (WED). In essence, WED has been designed to augment and amplify the people’s awareness regarding the environment and its protection. In reality, are we actually concerned about practicality? Do we follow the same definition to commemorate this remarkable day in bringing progressive change for world betterment?
A celebration is actually an assessment and reflection; that leads us towards “success” or at least to “work harder”. There are several indicators we have to evaluate the WED celebration; and where we should go further.
The environment has complex elements, and humankind has a big part of it
Aside from encouraging awareness about environmental conditions, people are also being charged for environmental ‘modification’. We all have the same responsibility; to assure that our planet is in its best performance - whatever the condition is. The WED is actually the value-free step for marking our endeavor in terms of taking care of the environment.
Since the birth of the WED in 1972, there have been themes circulated for its celebration every year. In 2020, “the Biodiversity” is opted to be the issue of festivity. Let us take a look briefly at the current circumstances: climate change and sea-level rise that leads to extreme flooding and even state border conflict; land transfer function and conflict; illegal poaching of endangered animals; deforestation; increasing temperature level; and other natural as well as man-made disasters. Can we agree that our environment is healthy? Are we able to adapt, mitigate, and tackle these events?
A call for our hands
As one of the components of biodiversity, humans are now tested by their own demands and the availability of natural resources’ services. We request and take too much, without thinking of giving back. Besides, the WED of 2020 gives us a ‘special present’ to contemplate about - a hit by the COVID-19. The situation is transforming rapidly; it is truly and undoubtedly possible to redefine the World Environment Day. It is high time that we put more attention to over-consumerism behavior, work on capacity, and response in facing the unpredicted and unprecedented times; while taking care of our own physical, mental and environmental health.
WED is about celebrating our lives. Celebrating the ‘connecting dots’ of what we have brought with the birth of humanity and essential constituents that support our existence - the environmental life.
Hanna is a Graduate Student in Development Studies at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. She is also an ASEAN fellow at the Institute of Natural Resource Manager (INRM), East-West Center, Hawai’i. She is also currently a project member for ATO - ClimatEducate Project in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific (EASEAP) Regional Hub.