20 Inspirational Images for World Environment Day

Celebrated on every June 5 since 1972, World Environment Day is United Nations' "principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment."


This year carries a simple but important theme: "Seven billion dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." More specifically, the goal of the global event is to get people to stop wasting so much food.

“Overconsumption of food is detrimental to our health and the environment,” said actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio. “Land degradation, declining soil fertility, unsustainable water use, overfishing and marine environment degradation are all lessening the ability of the natural resource base to supply food."

He offers a challenge to everyone: "What’s #just1thing that you can do on #WED2015 to fight overconsumption and food waste?”

DiCaprio, who was designated last year as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered opening remarks at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City in December:

This is what Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), has to say about #WED2015:

As we sit down to lunch or dinner on this World Environment Day, it is important to consider this: one-third of all food produced globally each year – 300 million tonnes – is wasted. This waste costs the global economy a staggering one trillion dollars a year. Industrialized regions account for almost half of the total. The food we discard is still fit for human consumption and could feed more than 800 million people in the world today. This is just the tip of the waste iceberg, and serves as a proxy for the ‘ecological footprint’ of our entire global economy. Our global food system is responsible for 80 per cent of deforestation and is the largest single cause of species and biodiversity loss. It is also responsible for more than 70 per cent of freshwater consumption … Our global consumption is already one-and-a-half times the Earth’s carrying capacity. If current population and consumption trends continue, humanity will need the equivalent of two Earths to support itself by 2030.

The concept may be simple, but the solution is complex. Getting 7 billion people to start consuming with more care is a tall order. But it all starts with individuals deciding to do something in their own lives, no matter how small. As Ban points out, "Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference."

Click here to find out how you can be a part of the action.

Also, on Friday at 9 A.M. EST, you can join a tweet chat with Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, who will discuss the role of climate change in the UN's post-2015 development agenda. Tweet your questions to @HelenClarkUNDP using the hashtag #WED2015.

Here are 20 images to inspire action on #WED2015:

For more information on World Environment Day, visit UNEP.

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