World Environment Day, celebrated each year on June 5, is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a platform for public outreach on environmental issues that is globally celebrated in over 100 countries. World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Global citizens have organized thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests. Above all, World Environment Day is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change.
The Government of Belize, through the Department of the Environment (DOE), is responsible for the protection and conservation of its untold wealth through the control of pollution. The DOE is not alone in safeguarding Belize’s natural resources. Each one of us all share a role in nurturing, protecting, and using Belize’s natural resources for the benefit of all through changes which we can make to prevent and adapt to those threats. It is the Department of the Environment’s hope that all gain a greater appreciation and understanding of our precious natural resources, and the pressures and challenges that we as citizens face in ensuring that this natural heritage is there for future generations. When natural resources are used correctly and consistently in a manner that is safe for our environment, the results can be rewarding for us and for future generations. This is referred to as “sustainable use.”
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2017 is ‘Connecting people to nature’, and it encourages us to: Connect with nature in the city, green your city, green your street or a not-so-pretty site, plant a tree, plant many trees. Pick up 10 (or 100) pieces of trash, organize a mass clean-up. Hit the park, hit the outdoors, enjoy your country’s natural areas. Challenge yourself, identify wildlife, reach the remotest corner of the park. Take only pictures, share with others, take them exploring too. Take off your shoes, get your feet (and hands) dirty. Don’t just look at the beautiful river, jump in! Take a hike, rely on your ears and nose to experience nature. Whether peering at a bug that has touched down on your arm, connecting with nature is often an intimate, fleeting experience. But every trip outdoors.