World Environment Day (WED), observed annually on the 5th June since 1974, is a day that reminds us about our obligation to effectively manage our environment and relate well with it. According to the United Nations, this day is celebrated as a way of encouraging awareness on environmental protection with the expectation that there will be efforts by the individuals, organisations and communities to conserve, preserve and protect the environment from misuse, mismanagement and abuse. This year’s WED marks the 50 years of championing sustainable living with a constant call on encouraging people to practice ways of life that do not negatively impact on the environment and all its ecosystems.
The theme for 2022 WED is ‘Only One Earth’ which was the moto of the Stockholm conference on Human Environment of 1972 and it was also the theme of the first WED in 1974. The theme presupposes that the universe does not have another planet Earth. This is the only and only one that supports todays human life. In this regard it is incumbent upon us all to value it, protect it through sustainably managing it and its resources.
To emphasise the importance of this year’s theme, Dougal Driver CEO of Growth in Britain said that earth has finite resources and therefore there is urgent need to protect the environment in order to meet the current needs and the needs for the future generations. He further said that earth is home to all of us and that it is the responsibility of everyone to help to preserve it.
In the same vein, Penny Walker Cenv FRSA CPF FIEMA reiterates that we only have one earth and notes how interconnected and dependent we are on earth, noting that earths benefits to human beings are immense and that in order to continue having them, there is need for all of us to listen to each other better with compassion and curiosity, to overcome the barriers and find new ways of living on Earth.
The need to respect, value or take high regard of our environment cannot be emphasised more. In Uganda we have a tendency of taking environmental matters for granted and handling anything that may affect it negatively in a leis fair manner.
Valuable human lives, property and wild creatures have been lost over years due to change in environment. Several species of wild animals, birds and insects are either extinct or near extinction yet nothing exists without a purpose. The holy books speak about Gods creation. God never created anything without a reason and He even went further to direct us to oversee and manage His creation on earth. The wisdom that God gave human beings was to enhance sustainable management of his creation and not to destroy it.
WED 2022 should therefore act as an eye opener that 50 years down the road, the Earth is still under threat and that anything that has been done to correct what went wrong and is still relevant and applicable, should be maintained and shared for adoption. Several good actions and good practices some of which are in Uganda’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), environment laws / policies and indigenous knowledge need to be supported politically, technically and financially. It is time issues concerning the environment are taken as a priority. It is disheartening to note that the national budget and the supplementary budgets focus more on aspects that are secondary to human survival as opposed to the primary aspects which are directly related to supporting human life.
It is important to note that all human activities are made possible with a favourable environment. Like it or not, all activities will be no more with an environment that does not support human life / survival. Everything will die off including political leaders who disregard matters of the environment. Political leaders in the United Kingdom, United States of America, and Sweden etc have continued to make statements, committed and released large sums of money to address issues of climate change and other aspects of the environment. Unfortunately, Uganda’s political leaders are yet to make this a priority! Worth noting is that Environmental impacts do not discriminate, political leaders destroying Uganda’s environment will too die of them.
Friends, let this WED 2022 be an opportunity for you to speak out your message or concerns about the environment and demand for political actions to protect the environment. Let the WED 2022 be a platform for you to speak out and take action against bad environment management actions and practices. Let the WED 2022 be a platform for you as an individual, community or organisation to share your good practices and opportunity for you to reflect on your local, national and global agenda protecting the ‘only one earth’ we have.
John Mary Odoy
Senior citizen and former Board Chair Climate Action Network Uganda
Tel. 0782457990, email; email@example.com
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org