EDITORIAL: By Fred Wesley
Today is a special day. On June 5 every year there is a concerted effort to promote awareness on the importance of our environment, issues that affect it and hopefully things we can identify to help us tackle major concerns.
It is a day when we acknowledge our biodiversity and how we can live and maintain our environment.
This day was first celebrated in 1973 and has become a very important day in the calendar of many countries around the world.
For Fiji, this year is extra special considering our presidency of COP23.
Today is about appreciating and tackling many environmental challenges ranging from climate change, global warming, and related issues like disasters, harmful substances, ecosystem management and resource efficiency.
It includes environmental governance.
Ideally World Environment Day should be every day.
It should include awareness campaigns, organised clean-ups and many other community events that promote this special day.
It would be good to see the message of protection of our environment spread as widely as possible to every corner of the globe.
At home, we hope there is acknowledgement that we can all do with an improvement in the quality of our lives, and at the same time being mindful of the need to protect nature.
But as much as we will want to promote a good life for ourselves and our future generations, it is important that we each accept the need to embrace the campaign as individuals first. The onus is on each one of us to make a change in many aspects of our lives.
We do take a lot of things for granted and forget there are things that we do that negatively affect our environment.
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Connecting People to Nature’.
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres urged people of the world to understand the role we have to play to protect our only home.
‘Oceans. Lands. Forests …’
In his message for the special day, he said, “Oceans. Land. Forests. Water. The air that we breathe. This is our environment.”
“It is the keystone of a sustainable future,” he said.
“Without a healthy environment we cannot end poverty or build prosperity.
“We can use less plastics.
“Drive less. Waste less food. And teach each other to care.
He urged people to reconnect with nature.
“Let us cherish the planet that protects us.”
The Fiji Times will endeavour to play its part in the dissemination of relevant news for people to make well-informed decisions in their lives.
Today, let us understand that we can make or break our environment. It is important that we take ownership of our country and make important changes in our lives today.
Fred Wesley is The Fiji Times editor-in-chief. His editorial today marking World Environment Day looks ahead to Fiji co-hosting COP23 in Bonn, Germany, in November.