The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5-16, 1972. This was the first time that the world’s governments collaborated to work on solutions to environmental issues. It also marked the foundation of the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, which is the UN’s environmental action agency. The following year, UNEP establis hed the conference’s anniversary as World Environment Day.

Each year, a theme is chosen and a city is selected to host an international exposition on the week of June 5th to commemorate the holiday. But activities take place all around the world. World Environment Day celebrations include everything from parades and concerts to clean-up and recycling events. The holiday aims to encourage both political action and personal commitments toward improving the environment.

Although World Environment Day is a global celebration, one of its primary goals is to encourage people to work to improve the environment on a local level. Even though one person or a small group’s actions may seem insignificant, worldwide participation can have a huge impact on the environment as a whole.

Here’s how you can get involved:
• Organize a community celebration in honor of World Environment Day. Activities could include parades, art exhibitions, concerts or competitions.
• Hold a seminar on a topic that relates to the year’s theme. You could invite environmental activists to speak, or simply hold a presentation about how to do something good for the environment such as reusing water or starting a kitchen garden.
• Organize a flash mob to raise awareness of environmental issues. Take to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to find participants in your area, but don’t disclose the time, place and activity until shortly before the event. Notify the media shortly beforehand if possible, and have someone film the event so that it can be uploaded to YouTube and other websites.
• Get a crew together to clean up litter along the highway or plant trees. Ask a local business to sponsor the event by providing trash bags or saplings. It will be good PR for them, and you’ll get more participants since they won’t have to provide their own materials.
• Work with teachers to create World Environment Day lesson plans for your local school. Schedule speakers to discuss environmental issues, distribute quizzes about the topic for the year, or organize an essay contest with small prizes for winners at various grade levels.

World Environment Day is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to work toward the common goal of improving the environment. Whether you participate in a large organized event or get the family together to plant a couple of trees, you can make a difference.

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