World Environment Day 2008
Today is World Environment Day! The world is encouraged to kick the habit of producing carbon dioxide. World Environment Day started back in 1972 by the United Nations.
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The United Nations urged the world on Thursday to kick the habit of producing carbon dioxide, saying everyone must act to fight climate change.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said global warming was becoming the era's defining issue and would hurt rich and poor.
"Our world is in the grip of a dangerous carbon habit," Ban said in a statement on World Environment Day, which is being marked by events around the globe and hosted by the New Zealand city of Wellington.
"Addiction is a terrible thing. It consumes and controls us, makes us deny important truths and blinds us to the consequences of our actions," he said in the speech to reinforce this year's World Environment Day theme of "CO2 Kick the Habit."
World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
The World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. Recognizing that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era, UNEP is asking countries, companies and communities to focus on greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them. The World Environment Day will highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption.
The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2008 will be held in New Zealand. UNEP is honoured that the city of Wellington will be hosting this United Nations day.
The day's agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
New Zealand, which boasts snow-capped mountains, pristine fjords and isolated beaches used as the backdrop for the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, has pledged to become carbon-neutral.
"We take pride in our clean, green identity as a nation and we are determined to take action to protect it. We appreciate that protecting the climate means behavior change by each and every one of us," said New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
New Zealand staged art and street festivals to spread the message on how people can reduce carbon usage. In Australia, Adelaide Zoo staged a wild breakfast for corporate leaders to focus on how carbon emissions threaten animal habitats.
In Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, people plan to clean up Gulshan Baridhara Lake that has become badly polluted, and in Kathmandu the Bagmati River Festival will focus on cleaning up the river there.
Many Asian cities, such as Bangalore and Mumbai, plan tree-planting campaigns, while the Indian town of Pune will open a "Temple of Environment" to help spread green awareness.