World Environment Day 2017 Connects People and Nature
UN Photo/Victoria Hazou
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The official celebrations for World Environment Day (WED) 2017 were hosted by Canada and focused on the theme ‘Connecting People with Nature'.

Events took place across the globe to mark the Day.

5 June 2017: Canada hosted the official celebrations for World Environment Day (WED) 2017, as part of its 150th anniversary, under the theme ‘Connecting People with Nature.’ This year’s theme highlighted the importance of natural systems and a clean environment to humanity, and encouraged people to appreciate those benefits “first-hand,” including the “beauty and diversity of the natural world that surrounds and sustains us.”

To mark the Day, thousands joined efforts to clean up beaches and riverbanks across the globe, including in Tijuana, Mexico where volunteers from both the US and Mexico cleaned the city beach in a “show of solidarity.” In India, 500 palm trees were planted along Versova Beach in Mumbai, and color-coded garbage bins will be installed in 4,000 towns across the country to encourage recycling. In Brazil, 4,500 runners traversed the Atlantic forests of Iguaçu National Park, In Angola, more than a ton of elephant ivory was burned, underscoring the country’s commitment to fighting wildlife crime.

Finland designated its 40th national park, Bosnia and Herzegovina doubled the size of its protected areas, and Canada granted free entrance to its national parks for the duration of 2017.

Some countries used to Day to make announcements, such as Finland designating its 40th national park, Bosnia and Herzegovina doubling the size of its protected areas and opening its parks for free, and Canada granting free entrance to national parks throughout 2017. Over 30 buildings and other landmarks across the globe were illuminated in green.

UN Environment encouraged, inter alia, social media users to post photos of their favorite natural places in an effort to create the “World’s Biggest Nature Photo Album.” IMAX Corporation marked WED with the release of five, eight-minute documentary films made by students on topics related to wildlife protection, ecological threats, and air and water pollution. More specifically, the films addressed: how removing dams from a river restored an ecosystem; health dangers of ozone pollution from engine exhausts; the uniqueness and importance of Florida’s Everglades; honeybees’ critical role in sustaining human life; and the history of New York City’s tap water.

A WED fact sheet illustrates estimated values of the benefits that nature provides, and data on how protected areas, including national parks and nature reserves, safeguard those benefits. A ‘WED Lesson Plan: Nature in Daily Life’ aims to help guide young people through the process of “discovering their connection with nature” through group activities, and learning how different cultures connect to nature on a daily basis.

WED has been celebrated on 5 June every year since 1974, following the 1972 designation by the UN General Assembly. Each WED is organized around a theme focusing on a pressing environmental concern and is hosted by a different country. [UN Press Release on WED] [Video Address by UN Environment Executive Director] [IMAX Press Release on Films] [WED Connecting with Nature Fact Sheet] [WED Lesson Plan: Nature in Daily Life] [WED Press Release on Celebrations] [WED Press Release on Bosnia and Herzegovina] [WED Press Release on Clean Ups] [All WED Press Releases] [Nature Photo Album] [WED Theme ‘Connecting People with Nature’] [IMAX WED Films]

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