Awareness and action for environment protection
In line with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 13 'to take urgent action to combat climate change', World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June.
From bicycle marathons to school workshops, cleaning public spaces, planting trees, and other environmental activities, every little bit of effort helps to create awareness and take action, especially on an international scale.
In all corners of the world, locals have been mobilised to take part in several green actions targeting various audiences, with a particular focus on young people. To name but a few, in Brazil the EU Delegation held a Green Competition for youth. The results were announced at the beginning of the first climate diplomacy week. The initiative aimed at raising young people's awareness of the need to take care of the environment we live in, using platforms appealing to youth such as blogs, videos, and music clips to communicate on actions with tangible positive ecological effects. The winners of the competition were a group of young girls who recycled and upcycled clothes.
In Cuba more than 400 bicycle lovers gathered at the Plaza de Armas, in the Historic Center of Havana, to participate in the event 'Pedalea por el clima: for a future without polluting emissions', aimed to raise awareness in the fight against climate change and in favor of sustainable urban mobility. This event marked an important milestone in Cuba due to the high turnout of participants of all ages and the joyful atmosphere and social commitment achieved around a praiseworthy cause: the care and protection of the environment.
In Australia, colleagues at the Delegation and partners also took to the streets on their bikes, as part of the VeloMai month-long campaign during which colleagues from EU institutions pedaled to work to promote cycling as a mode of transport. This event kicked off the climate diplomacy weeks, highlighting positive global collaboration to address climate change.
Creating the Cities of the Future was the subject of discussion at the Climate Diplomacy Week event hosted by the EU Delegation to the U.S. and the Embassy of Sweden. Cities emit 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, and by the year 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Although they represent a significant part of the climate crisis, cities also have the opportunity to be a critical part of the climate change solution. Many cities throughout the United States and Europe have been pioneering innovative technologies and new solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming “smart cities.”
Other activities are in progress in other parts of the globe, even with a cultural aspect, for example in Asia, via a photo exhibition on the effects of air pollution in Myanmar to raise awareness of the harm being done to the environment. Whereas in Africa the Delegation to Benin organised an art competition for children with the theme 'The new energy of the future' (Les nouvelles énergies de demain).
Beyond the climate diplomacy weeks, in the Republic of North Macedonia an EU-funded project 'Art and water – the magic of life', combining art, care for environment and youth, commissioned five local artists to brighten the walls of a wastewater treatment facility with colourful murals, explaining what the facility does and how important it is to keep the environment clean. Moreover they beautify the architecture of the building, making it more eye-catching, especially for children, inviting them to learn more about the importance of water. Children were in fact the main audience at the inauguration of the murals. Before the event they were asked to depict how they would draw water. Their drawings were also displayed at the facility.
"Few days ago we talked about water in school. Water makes big trees. There are parts of this planet where it's hard to find water. It's very important for the water to be clean," explained one of the schoolchildren. "I have the right to be healthy," one child stated. "Let's try to save the water and take care of it in a proper way. Water is life"
Voices of Youth
In view of the European Parliament Elections, UNICEF's blog, Voices of Youth ran a special blogging series to ensure that the opinions and voices of children and young people were heard during the elections and by incoming European politicians.
"In the past, people loved and respected nature. But over time, we lost our way and began to focus too much on money and the pursuit of luxuries." Hear the voice of Antonija MATRAKOVIĆ, in her blog post 'We have to save the fading beauty of the earth' and read Pablo MORENTE ACALE's story: Europe, May 26, youth, and the climate crisis have more in common than you think.
Have you taken the mask challenge?
From 24 May, through to #WorldEnvironmentDay on June 5, UN Environment called on everyone to join the Mask Challenge, a symbol to show leaders we want to breathe clean air. Alongside celebrities, influencers and creators, the World Environment Day campaign invited everyone to:
- Decide what action you are going to take to #BeatAirPollution
- Make a pledge and challenge others to take action
- On World Environment Day, show how you have fulfilled your pledge!