World Environment Day – Friday 5 June: your planet needs you!
Image © The Bigger Picture
World Environment Day is an opportunity for us all to get involved in something which is critical for our shared future and work in a co-ordinated manner to empower us all to play an active role in protecting our environment.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency
This year's theme for World Environment Day is 'Your Planet needs You! Unite to combat climate change' – a topic that reflects everyone’s individual responsibility to protect the planet, as well as the urgency for nations to agree on a new climate change deal in December 2009.
World Environment Day is truly a People's Day: it is the chance for everyone, young and old, with their community or with close friends, to show that they care for the planet.
In Denmark, World Environment Day will be celebrated with a public premiere of the new film 'HOME' created by world-renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Using the stunning aerial footage that is Arthus-Bertrand's trademark, the film — shot in more than 50 countries — makes an urgent appeal for our planet in peril and all its treasures, arguing that we have barely ten years left to reverse its degradation.
The premiere in Copenhagen will take place at Kongens Nytorv from 11:00 – 17:00 on 5 June .
Along with the premiere in Copenhagen, the film — partly financed by the French Government — will be launched at more than 100 locations around the world. Screenings — including star-studded premieres at the Eiffel Tower and in New York City's Central Park – will be free of charge, and the film will also be available for free download on YouTube.
The screening in Copenhagen is a joint event arranged by the European Environment Agency and the six United Nations agencies located in Denmark. In August, the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen (Cinemateket) will show multiple screenings of 'HOME' along with special presentations organised by the European Environment Agency.
World Environment Day 2009 comes just under 190 days before the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen. As millions of people around the world prepare to celebrate the event, and in the spirit of the WED slogan 'Unite to combat climate change', the UN has launched the Seal the Deal campaign to call for world leaders to agree on a climate change deal that will protect people and the planet.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Denmark less than two weeks ago. On that occasion he encouraged private sector leaders to take responsibility for the climate. 'But we all have a responsibility,' Ban Ki-moon says in a World Environment Day statement:
'On this World Environment Day, I encourage all people to take concrete steps toward making the planet greener and cleaner. Switch off the lights. Take public transportation. Recycle. Plant a tree. Clean up your local park. Hold corporations responsible for their environmental practices. And urge your government representatives to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen'.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, says: 'Governments across the world have been striving to avoid a deepening global recession, involving stimulus packages with sums so vast that most of us are unable to comprehend the figures involved. In parallel, our natural world, through the pressures from climate change and ecosystem loss, is on the verge of collapse. Here too, governments are working to develop high level targets and strategies to reign in the worst effects.'
'In both cases there is a common thread; the political, economic and administrative mechanisms leave citizens sidelined,' says Professor McGlade, adding: 'World Environment Day is an opportunity for us all to get involved in something which is critical for our shared future and work in a co-ordinated manner to empower us all to play an active role in protecting our environment.'