You are here

World Environment Day

On World Environment Day people from countries all around the world come together to take action to defend our planet. Find out about some of the things people are doing to celebrate this special day.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

People celebrate World Environment Day (WED) in many different ways all over the world: planting trees, cleaning up local beaches, organising meetings, joining online protests. Each year the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chooses a particular issue to focus on. One year it might be forests, another year it might be wildlife. And each year there is a new host; a city which is the centre point for all the celebrations.

How it first started

The United Nations (UN) named 5 June as international World Environment Day at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. The idea was to draw attention to the many problems that are facing our environment. They wanted to include as many people, organisations and governments, both local and national, as possible. They wanted to show that positive change is possible when people work together to fight for a common cause.

The first World Environment Day

The first WED was celebrated in 1974 in the city of Spokane in the USA. The slogan for that first year was ‘Only One Earth’ and it was celebrated with the world’s first world fair to be dedicated to the environment. The exhibition lasted for six months.

The hosts

Since 1974 the WED has been hosted by 34 different cities in 25 different countries around the world, from Cuba to Korea, from Belgium to Brazil. Some countries have hosted the main celebrations two or more times, including Bangladesh, Canada and China. But that doesn’t mean that all the celebrations take place in the host country. Every year people from all over the world take part in a huge number of different events to draw attention to the main issue.

The issues

Each year the celebrations focus on a particular problem. Over the last ten years key issues have included wildlife, forests and plastic waste, among other things. Each issue has a slogan. Past slogans include ‘Think. Eat. Save.’, which asked people to think about the issue of food waste, and ‘Raise your voice, not the sea level’, to focus on the effect that global warming is having on small island nations around the world. As well as slogans, hashtags have become important for the campaigns too. In a recent campaign the hashtag #WildforLife became a strong symbol for the fight against all kinds of illegal trading in plants and animals.

What you can do

If you want to take part in the celebrations, or support this year’s special cause, here are some things that you can do. You can visit the official website to find out what this year’s slogan is. You can search for the slogan online to find organisations and events in your area or online. You can share information about the cause and the events on social media or form a local action group of your own and organise an event in your community. Whatever you do, you won’t be alone. Millions of people all around the world will be joining the celebrations and fighting for a better future for our planet.



Language level

Intermediate: B1


Hi ines,

I'm afraid that we don't provide the service of correcting our users' texts, but maybe someone else will offer you some advice, and in any case, thanks for sharing it with us!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

My slogan will be "Planting is charity to humanity"

Hi everyone. I think Big Corporations don't really care about our nature: leaking oil, cutting trees off in a forests, polution, and so on. To solve this problems, I think we must change our thinking and our behave to what's going on a Planet.

i want to make a slogan

Hi Everyone,
i think the most important problem is that we are all just saying ! instead doing.
we must do anything for environment to be an example to other people, a good example

HI. The main problem in my coutry is people don't take care about water resources and the domestic rubberish. So sad.

The main problem right now is the plastic pollution, we need take action with this great issue, educate to people to be aware with the consequences on it and in the top level of any government give laws to avoid plastics. Other issues are the poor classifications of our domestic rubbish and the following chain to properly treatment, many cities in my country haven't got any policy of residues treatment and wastewater treatment, so there are many things to do to improve our environment and this haven't got boundaries.

Hi team!
I'm driven here due to my confusion here in a sentence of this article below :
'The idea was to draw attention to the many problems that are facing our environment.'
Could not it be just "the idea...problems That are being faced by our environment" or "the idea... attention to our environment that is facing many problems"?
Many thanks!

Hi mohitm,

The construction used in the article is the most natural way to say this. Your alternatives are not incorrect, grammatically speaking, but they do not represent constructions which would be used. The sense of the original sentence is that attention is being drawn to the problems, not to the environment, and by using passive forms you change this meaning.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter! I haven't understood one part of the text... "The slogan for that first year was ‘Only One Earth’ and it was celebrated with the world’s first world fair to be dedicated to the environment." The part which says: "the world’s first world fair", why there are two times the word "world"? I don't know the meaning...
Thanks a lot!