5 June 2012

World Environment Day - 5 June

There is plenty going on today. For those of us in the UK, the Diamond Jubilee has dominated the media, but it's World Environment Day too.

WED was established 40 years ago and this year the theme is the Green Economy.So what is a Green Economy? According to UNEP it is one that results in improved human well-being and social equality, while signiticantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The three keywords are: low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. WED focuses on 10 main sectors for  greener planet and outlines some of things you can do.

1. Buildings - reduce your impact by looking to low-carbon construction and landscaping firms, make your home and office as resource-efficient as possible.

2. Fisheries - overfishing is depleting world fish stocks to look for fish caught using sustainable fishing practices
3. Forestry - deforestation accounts for more than one-fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, so look for sustainably managed forests  (e.g. FSC) when buying timber products, reduce your use of paper products and recycle your paper waste.

4. Transport  - car sharing to reduce your personal carbon footprint, walk or ride a bike instead, use public transport.

5. Water - billions of people have no access to clean water or sanitation and as the world's population grows it is going to become in even shorter supply, so use it wisely. Don't waste clean water by running the tap, or having a long shower, make sure the washing machine and dishwasher have full loads, don't clean the car and save rainwater to water your garden.

6. Agriculture - there are more mouths to feed, so support sustainable farming systems, grow your own fruit and veg, buy local, don't buy more food than you need, compost all the waste.

7. Energy - our modern lifestyle is energy-hungry and we use fossil fuels to produce most of our energy needs which contributes to global warming, so save energy. Turn off lights, appliances, turn down the heating and air conditioning, install PV and other renewable energy system.

8. Tourism - tourists can have a large footprint so think carefully when choosing a holiday. Support local business and local people, try to limit your impact on fragile environments,  question resorts and hotels about the green policies (where does the waste go, what about clean water, recycling, source of food etc)

9. Waste - everything our buy, eventually becomes waste so where will it go? So recycle, re-use and recycle. Think before you buy - do you really need it, can you re-use something rather than throw away, and if you have to throw away make sure you recycle as much as possible.

10. Manufacturing and industry -  this part of the economy produces much of the world's pollution, so be a wise consumer - buy green wherever possible, support green industries, ask questions of those that pollute.

Coming soon  Earth Summit Rio+20 - the 20th anniversary of the very first Earth Summit.

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