World Environment Day: Here are 5 Things You Can Do to Help With the Top 5 Problems

 

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise awareness of global environmental issues. While these issues can cause our anxiety to go through the roof (especially with all the politics around it), there are small things we can do to improve our environment and keep our mental health in check.

Who Founded World Environment Day?

Governments, individuals, and organizations have celebrated World Environment Day since the United Nations General Assembly launched it in 1972. The day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of environmental problems and stimulate action to protect the planet. However, there is plenty of controversy about what we can do (if anything) to take care of our planet.

Does Everyone Believe in World Environment Day Awareness?

Like many environmental issues, not everyone agrees on a solution on how to handle global warming. Thus, supporters of World Environment Day feel that it is crucial to take care of the earth and its resources. They believe that our responsibility is to preserve the environment for future generations. They hope that we can make a difference by raising awareness and taking action. On the other hand, opponents of World Environment Day feel that making a special day to focus on the environment is unnecessary. They believe that this should be something that we all do every day without needing a special reminder. They feel that the earth’s resources should be used to benefit humanity and that preserving the environment is not a top priority.

Extremes hardly serve us well. It usually causes inaction, similar to how our anxieties around these issues can cause inaction. Take a breath, and know there are actions we can take to help us feel that we are minimizing the damage to the environment.

Here are 5 Top Global Environment Issues You Should Be Aware Of

Some environmental issues are caused by major corporations and environmentalists fight to hold them accountable. However, we are all responsible for doing for taking care of our planet. Environmental Awareness Day is a perfect time to familiarize yourself and help raise awareness about these 5 global issues:

  1. Climate change
  2. Biodiversity loss
  3. Land degradation
  4. Air pollution
  5. Water Scarcity

#1 Raising Awareness About Climate Change on World Environment Day

Climate change refers to a gradual increase in the earth’s average air temperature. Various factors contribute to climate change, but the root cause is an increased output of greenhouse gases. These gases form a “blanket” around our planet that traps energy from the sun. This trapped energy makes the earth’s atmosphere warm and disturbs the earth’s climate.

So, what is the impact of global warming?

According to NASA and environmentalists, climate change already has a devastating impact on the environment, human health, and economies worldwide. It is one of the most pressing global issues that we face today. Scientists believe the potential effects of climate change include:

  • Increasing heat waves and wildfires
  • Droughts and water shortages
  • More extreme weather events
  • Spread of diseases
  • A decline in crop yields
  • Loss of habitats and species

What you can pledge on World Environment Day

Luckily there are small changes you can make to help with climate change:

Here are small changes that can help with climate change:

world environmental day awareness image of a person's hands on assorted color plastic lid lot
Photo by Krizjohn Rosales on Pexels.com
  • Use paper straws
  • Recycle
  • Buy local
  • Unplug electronics not in use
  • Turn off the lights if they are not in use

#2 Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity loss is an umbrella term that refers to any process that reduces the variety of life on earth. This type of loss includes species extinction, the loss of genetic variation within species, and the loss of ecosystems.

The impact of biodiversity loss

Climate change may lead to significant biodiversity loss through changes in climate, land use, and ocean processes. Due to the changes, species ranges will shift, and many species will not be able to keep up with the rapidly changing environment, resulting in their extinction.

Additionally, climate changes may create new, more welcoming environments for some species, resulting in the migrating species displacing the native species.

What you can pledge on World Environment Day

Amazingly, there are small things we can do to help our ecosystem.

World Environment day awareness image of adorable ruby throated hummingbird sitting on bird feeder in park
Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of herbicides or pesticides in your garden
  • Leave dead trees in your yard
  • Plant trees and gardens
  • Put up a bird feeder

#3 Land degradation

Land degradation is when natural resources, including land, are lost, degraded, or irreversibly changed. These changes happen when:

  • Too much rainwater runs off
  • The land is overused for crops or grazing
  • Forests are chopped down
  • Chemicals are used in agriculture
  • Agricultural soil is compacted.

The impact of land degradation

Land degradation is a serious global problem that threatens the environment, humans, and societies. It can reduce the amount and quality of water resources, the loss of biodiversity, increased soil erosion and sedimentation and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Land degradation can also make ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change.

Pledge to Make a Difference on World Environment Day

There are so many things we can do to make a difference. Here are some of them:

world environment day awareness image of a panoramic photo of green field
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  • Buying local produce and products
  • Recycling and composting
  • Conserving water
  • Supporting land preservation

#4 Air Pollution

Air pollution is the presence of harmful materials in the air. These materials can come from natural sources, like wildfires, or artificial sources, like cars and factories.

The impact of air pollution

Air pollution is very harmful to our health. The tiny particles in the air can cause serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer. Air pollution can also cause problems for pregnant women and unborn children. Reducing air pollution helps increase and sustain the quality of human lives.

Pledge to Make a Difference on World Environment Day

There are simple things we can do to lower air pollution:

people riding bicycles on a concrete road
Photo by Anna Tis on Pexels.com
  • Walk or ride your bike when possible
  • Turn off lights when you’re not using them
  • Recycle
  • Minimize the use of chemicals and pesticides
  • Plant trees

# 5 Water Scarcity

Water scarcity is a global problem where there are not enough freshwater resources. Various factors lead to water scarcity, including population growth, climate change, and increasing water use by sectors such as agriculture and industry.

The impact of water scarcity

Water scarcity has a variety of effects on the world. It can lead to increased food prices, political instability, and even conflict.

  • Increased food prices—agriculture is water-intensive. When there are not enough natural resources, farmers resort to more expensive irrigation methods.
  • Political instability—when there is not enough water to meet everyone’s needs, people become frustrated. Thus, it leads to a higher chance of protest and violence.
  • Increased conflict—because water is often a scarce resource in already politically tense areas, such as the middle east, it can lead to even more conflict.

Pledge to Make a Difference on World Environment Day

Conserving water is an area we can all help with this problem. Here are simple ways to help save water:

woman standing near old water wheel
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

While it may seem like a small change won’t go a long way, evidence suggests that’s not the case. Most people think a little bit of effort does not go a long way—but it does. Something as small as shortening your shower can significantly reduce the amount of water you use. One survey shows that 71% of Americans are worried about environmental issues, while 51% feel there is nothing they can do.

Why do people have anxiety over environmental issues?

There are many reasons why environmental issues cause anxiety. Since we hear of irreparable damage from some experts, it can feel as if we are doomed. Here are some common reasons people get anxiety over our global plight:

  • Not knowing whom to believe
  • The increase in extreme weather and other disasters
  • The effects industrialization has on our health
  • The number of species that are instinct or at the risk of instruction
  • Feeling as if there’s nothing we can do

What happens to our reasoning when we have anxiety

When we experience anxiety, it impairs our ability to reason. That’s because it causes us to focus on the negative thoughts and emotions associated with the feeling rather than on the task or situation. Thus, anxiety can cause us to make poor decisions or take unnecessary risks, as our attention is not fully on what is happening in the present.

So, when it comes to social and environmental issues or even making pledges on World Environment Day, we can over-promise or check out altogether.

What you can do

First, deal with your anxiety issues because we are overwhelmed with information and most of it is bad news. Our access to information has increased anxiety across the population. Luckily there are tools to help you manage your anxiety. Mindfulness and meditation techniques can help you stay present.

Here is how you can help the on World Environment Day without overwhelming yourself:

  • Evaluate what you are already doing and give yourself kudos
  • Share tips on social media
  • Pledge areas on the list that impact multiple environmental issues (for example, minimizing the use of fewer herbicides helps with air pollution and biodiversity loss.
  • Include your children in the effort

Summary

Environmental awareness is not a political issue (well, it does not have to be an issue for regular people like you and me). World Environmental Day is a great way to understand the small things we can do without getting overwhelmed or making it overly political. Find fun ways to show gratitude to our planet. I love low-hanging fruits, so share easy ways to help.