The UN celebrates World Environment Day 2015

1 June 2015

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. The WED theme this year is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care". Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future for everyone.

The UN World Environment Day, celebrated on the 5th of June 2015, is being hosted by Italy within the framework of the Expo Milano 2015.

The global aim of this UN initiative is to put environmental awareness in the public eye, promoting a sustainable approach towards using the planet’s resources. The event celebrates “galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet”.

The theme chosen this year, "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care", embraces the idea of good management and utilization of the planet’s natural resources, including good food practices. Significant environmental impacts (such as energy consumption and waste generation) occur not only during the food production phase, but are also the result of people’s individual dietary choices and habits. It is important to remember that collectively, individual choices in consumption can play a vital role in sustainably caring for the planet.

The WED website provides some telling data for a deeper look at some of the health and environmental impacts of consumption and food production. This includes:  

- 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry.

- Overconsumption of food is detrimental to our health and the environment.

  • 1.5 billion people globally are overweight or obese.
  • Land degradation, declining soil fertility, unsustainable water use, overfishing and marine environment degradation are all lessening the ability of our natural resources to supply food.
  • The food sector accounts for an estimated 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and accounts for about 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

- Increased consumption adversely affects food security.

  • Increase in food prices
  • A rise in production methods that use more resource-intensive food products.
  • Resource-intensive foods deplete the agro-ecological resource base, affecting its ability to produce plentiful food.