June 4, 2013

Think, eat, save for World Environment Day

Tue June 4, 2013

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5, St Vincent and the Grenadines will join the rest of the world in observing World Environment Day. Among activities planned by local organisers will be a fair at Heritage Square to which the public is invited.{{more}}

This year’s activities will also mark the 40th anniversary of the commemoration of World Environment Day, a date set aside for global focus on the environment by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 1972. Spearheading those activities is the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), working in concert with governments and non-governmental organisations internationally.

The June 5 observation is one of a number of such focus dates on the international calendar. Just two weeks ago, on May 22, global activities were held to mark International Biodiversity Day, while in the month of March there were specific days with the focus on Forests (March 21) and Water (March 22), while one month later, it was the turn of Earth Day (April 22). The theme for this year’s Environment Day is “Think, Eat, Save” and people all over the globe are being encouraged to wear green tomorrow to indicate their support for the occasion and concern about the preservation of the environment.

The Heritage Square Fair, at which environmental information is to be shared with the public, is in line with the objectives for the occasion, among them, “empowering people to be agents of change” where environmental sustainability is concerned.

Unfortunately, our country still has a long way to go along the road of environmental awareness and every effort must be made to increase that level of awareness and knowledge about environmental issues.

Most disturbingly, there are all too many among us who deliberately and irresponsibly turn deaf ears and blind eyes in the direction of preserving the environment. This is graphically demonstrated in relation to garbage disposal, where we seem to think that cleaning of the environment is the sole responsibility of employees of the public heath department or the Solid Waste Management Unit, and we are free to dispose of waste in whatever manner we choose.

But there is more to it than safe garbage disposal. We live in the era of climate change where the effects of human activity are already having a disastrous impact on our environment, with grave consequences for human life. There are also the indiscriminate use of chemicals, unsafe methods of storage and disposal of such agents and the widespread genetic modification of plant and animal material, with yet unknown implications for food safety.

World Environment Day is therefore an attempt to put all these into perspective, to get the message across that environmental preservation is our collective responsibility. The 2013 theme homes in on the need for us to think about what we consume, to make wise decisions in that regard, both health-wise and pocket-wise, and for us to play our part in reducing wastage.

Give it your full support!