BY AMBROSE INUSA SULE
Today is the international observance of the world Environment day (WED). World Environment Day is one of the most important events on the international environmental calendar. It is celebrated around the world on June 5 of each year.
The World Environment Day, is a day to reflect on the global environmental deteriorating conditions and to raise people`s awareness about the danger we all face should we fail to act positively to reverse the situation.
The 1972 Stockholm conference on the Environment marked the beginning of the yearly celebration of the World Environment Day. The Earth Summit of 1992 in Brazil further reaffirmed the political will and commitment of governments, individuals, communities, and groups to organize various actives to improve their environment.
Each year, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the UN agency is responsible for coordinating World Environment Day, organizes events for Environment Day every year to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of environment.
The theme for World Environment Day 2022 is ‘Only One Earth’. Under the theme Only One Earth, World Environment Day 2022 will be observed highlighting the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature by transformative changes in our policies and choices towards cleaner and greener lifestyles.
The Government of Sweden is the host of the World Environment Day 2022 programs iconic activities in partnership with the UN Environment Program (UNEP). This year marks the 50 years since the first United Nations Conference at Stockholm.
Representatives of the World will share ideas and experiences, establish goals for sustainable environmental development.
All nations of the world are enjoined to mark the World Environment Day in their unique way, to raise people`s awareness about the environment.
Nigeria as a member of the United Nations has been keeping faith with this injunction since June 1981 with the planting of a commemorative tree at the National Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, which was to mark the World Environment Day.
Nigeria as a member of the global community is today, joining the whole world in reaffirming its concern for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the environment.
The purpose of the awareness-raising event is to give human face to environmental issue; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and adequate development, promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to charging attitudes towards environment issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and people to enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
The world environment day is a people`s event with observations and activities, including clean-up campaigns, public lectures, rallies, tree planting, concerts and a lot more. The United Nations uses World Environment Day to stimulate awareness in the environment and to enhance political attention and public action.
It is no longer in dispute that mankind is today faced with a catalogue of environmental problems threatening the supportive ecosystems and indeed, human existence on earth.
At first, it appeared that better life on earth solely depended on vigorous industrialization, economic prosperity and political stability. No doubt, these important factors contribute to decent living and prosperity. Yet the pursuit of comfort and advancement in technology seemed to have driven many nations of the world, including Nigeria, towards uncontrolled exploitation of national resources, neglect for abatement measures in industrial process and poorly managed environment.
The resultant effect underscores the numerous environmental problems which include deforestation, soil erosion, climate change, ozone layer depletion, industrial pollution we are experiencing today.
It is suffice to say that most of the environmental problems in Nigeria have arisen from excessive exploitation of its natural resources without abatement measures, besides global environmental issues that are also serious concern to Nigeria.
With the benefit of hindsight, the concern to protect and develop the Nigeria environment and the provision of adequate institutional arrangement to address the issue of the environment have witnessed several changes that culminate in the creation of the federal ministry of environment in 1999.
It is important to note that the ministry was created to ensure that environmental matters are adequately mainstreamed into all developmental activities. This was in recognition that government efforts to eradicate poverty and the improvement of the standard of the people cannot be attained under a degraded environment.
The protections of the environment are paramount to the achievement of the objectives of the laudable, socio-economic reforms of the federal government which includes regional and global initiatives.
It should be noted that the role of governments in environmental matters is mainly catalytic. Government programs constitute the framework for a dynamic, evolving process for cooperation among stakeholders. These are the catalyst for evolvement of entire societies and points of reference for all agents involved in the process of environmentally sustainable development in this country.
We are all stakeholders on the issue of environmental sustainability. It is important that we create a mentality in which the adoption of preventive actions and precautionary measures will be as natural as our reactions to emergency situations.
It is a challenge to all of us to pause and reflect on the state of the environment, re-examine our activities in relations to the myriad of ever emerging new phenomena of environmental problems threatening our very existence.
As we wish ourselves a very happy environment day, may we remind ourselves that it is our collective duty to ensure a better and cleaner environment. The environment is our heritage and we are duty bound to preserve it.
AMROSE INUSA SULE,
PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ENVIRONMENT REPORTERS MAGAZJNE