World Environment Day is June 5
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June 5 marks the annual commemoration of World Environment Day. This is one of the primary ways in which the United Nations fosters worldwide awareness of the state of our environment, in the hope of enhancing political attention and action.
The aim of the day is to:
- Give a human face to environmental issues
- Empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development
- Promote an appreciation of the importance of local communities in changing attitudes towards environmental issues
- Advocate partnerships which will ensure that all nations and peoples enjoy a safe and more prosperous future.
This year’s host for World Environment Day is Brazil, where, in just two weeks, world leaders will gather for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO + 20). As has been mentioned in previous Briefings, this conference marks the 20th anniversary of the first Rio Conference, more commonly known as the Earth Summit. The Earth Charter, an initiative on the part of civil society worldwide, was issued in 1995. This Charter is a universal expression of ethical principles to foster sustainable development and a more just world order.
The Preamble of the Earth Charter reads as follows:
We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward, we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
It would seem that this message has assumed a greater sense of urgency, as the health and the viability of Earth is in a far more precarious state than it was some 20 years ago. If the values embodied in the Earth Charter—and not the profit motive—had been guiding decisions regarding sustainable development, we would all be in a much better place.
In keeping with World Environment Day, I offer you these suggestions:
- Introduce yourself to, or re-acquaint yourself with the Earth Charter
- Become part of the National Climate Ethics Campaign
- Visit the Sierra Club web site, and explore the goals, especially: Beyond Coal; Beyond Oil; Beyond Natural Gas; Protecting America’s Waters: Resilient Habitats
Margaret Mayce, OP (DLC/Amityville)
NGO in Special Consultative Status at the United Nations
Dominican Leadership Conference
211 East 43 St. Rm 704
New York, NY 10017