World Environment Day
annually on June 5th (since 1974)
United Nations General Assembly on December 15th, 1972
In 1972, the first major conference on environmental issues took place. Organized by the United Nations, it was known as the Conference on the Human Environment and has also informally been known as the Stockholm Conference. Later that year, on December 15, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2994, which created World Environment Day. The date of June 5 was chosen because that was the date that the Stockholm Conference had started on. World Environment Day was first held in 1974.
World Environment Day is a "day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment." The resolution that created the day said governments and organizations in the United Nations system should "undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference." Today the day is celebrated in over 100 countries, and millions of people have been involved in thousands of registered activities.
Each year, there is a theme for the day that is about a pressing environmental concern. For example, the theme for 2018 was "Beat Plastic Pollution" and the theme for 2019 was "Beat Air Pollution." A host country is also chosen each year, where the year's main official celebrations take place. Environmental challenges that the host country faces are often highlighted. Observers of the day do things to protect the Earth on the local, national, or global level. They may participate on their own or in groups.
How to Observe World Environment Day
Observe the day by becoming more aware of environmental issues and taking action to protect the environment. Visit the day's official website to learn about this year's environmental theme, and subscribe to get updates about the day. Attend an official celebration in the day's host country, or find another celebration close to home. You could also get involved with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an agency that focuses on environmental issues that were created after the resolution for World Environment Day was passed.