In 1972, the United Nations General Assembly established World Environment Day to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, thereafter organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In 2005 the main celebrations of the day were held in our own San Francisco, with the theme Green Cities: Plan for the Planet. Many urban activities exacerbate global environmental threats, such as marine debris and global warming. People were encouraged to take a look at their own ecological footprints, and see how they could live a little more greenly.
This year, UNEP’s theme for World Environment Day revolves around Deserts and Desertification: Don't Desert Drylands! Desertification is the expansion or creation of deserts resulting from myriad forces -- including human activity. The US helped make the issue famous in the 1930s when drought, overgrazing and poor farming practices led to the Great Dust Bowl, decreasing economic and biological productivity and forcing millions of American farmers to abandon their land.
How You Can Help
Although Desertification is an issue that still needs more research, it may be that erratic weather patterns brought on by global warming will make control of this problem in Asia and Africa more difficult. Do your part by learning how recycling helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consider composting food scraps, and buy foods you know are harvested in an environmentally approved manner (organic and local).
CAW works daily to improve recycling rates, reduce landfilled waste, and educate the public on the various environmental benefits of wise waste practices. Support CAW in the legislative aims to increase the recycling of plastic bags to capture plastic waste, help provide recycling to apartments who don’t even have curbside, or donate to help fund these important campaigns!
-Check out what’s happening around the world on this issue, and take an idea or two with you to implement in your own community.
Many Thanks to Stopwaste.org for noting this day on their calendar! If you live in Alameda county, consider getting a composting bin through this site. A nice one for gardens is available for less than $40, and you can teach your kids about vermacomposting (worm composting) for under $30!