To draw world attention to the need to reverse the trend of destruction of nature and its biological diversity, World Environment Day was instituted and first celebrated in 1974 on the theme: “Only One Earth.”
Since that year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has responsibility for organizing the Day’s celebration on June 5th every year, comes up with a theme that denotes a pressing issue for the period.
This year’s theme “Time for Nature,” is equally appropriate as its gives credence to recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, USA, and Australia to fall army worm infestations across parts of Africa – and now, a global pandemic COVID 19 – all demonstrating the interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which we exist.
To commemorate the Day, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has issued a statement urging Ghanaians to endeavour to restore their relationship with nature, since their existence is dependent on it. “As a people we are part of the biodiversity. When we destroy it, we destroy ourselves, and when we protect it, we protect ourselves and posterity, he said, reminding Ghanaians that “it behoves on all of us to learn to relate with nature properly, because we are part of it and we need to make this relationship last.”
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng called for the strengthening “of the linkage between nature and our culture by respecting traditional laws and promoting traditional approaches to biodiversity conservation,” adding, “let’s improve governance of natural resources, by enhancing institutional capacity for the enforcement of regulations.”
The old normal was destroying our climate and wrecking the ecosystems.
Then came a pandemic which has forced us into a global pause and what happens next is crucial. We have to make sure that the COVID-19 recovery means the next normal is for the benefit of people, and not profit.
We are faced by two crises which has forced governments to shut down economies to deal with one of them, but the climate crisis still looms,
It is important for all to protect the environment,
Clearly, World Environment Day 2020 is being celebrated in exceptional times, in which nature is sending humans a message: “It’s time to take notice of nature, time to care for nature, so you can take good care of yourselves. It is time to value the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.”