United Nations celebrates 40th World Environment Day

The theme for WED 2012 is “Green Economy: Does it include you?”

First established in 1972 by the United Nations, World Environment Day (WED) has been celebrated on June 5 to observe and promote environmental awareness. The theme for WED 2012 is "Green Economy: Does it include you?"

"Practically speaking, a Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states on its website. "These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes."

A green economy is one that strives toward the betterment of the social equality and well-being of all humans, the site indicates. To honor the WED, the UNEP has asked that everyone do what they can to help the green economy, and furthermore, to share that work with those around them.

Organizations and individuals from all over the world have reported what they were doing to observe WED on the UNEP website. In Boston, Massachusetts, the John Hancock Financial building was honored for becoming the first commercial office building in New England to be LEED certified at the platinum level. And, in Houston, one woman said that she planted trees, herbs and vegetables for her and her neighbors, and then, she helped clean a beach.

In order to encourage green activities, UNEP is hosting the WED Challenge. People are asked to submit what they are doing to help the green economy today. If they get the most people to help them, make the biggest impact, use social media the most effectively, have the most creative idea or fits this year's theme better than any other submissions, they could win an eco-friendly car.

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