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World Environment Day - 5 June 2012

The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is Green Economy: Does it include you? The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. 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. These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes. But what does all this mean for you? Well, this essentially what the second part of the theme is all about. If the Green Economy is about social equity and inclusiveness then technically it is all about you! The question therefore asks you to find out more about the Green Economy and assess whether, in your country, you are being included in it. Brazil a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, will host World Environment Day 2012 (WED) on 5 June. Brazil had previously hosted WED in 1992, on the eve of the first Earth Summit, when world leaders, government officials and international organizations met to refocus, recalibrate and deliver a route map towards sustainable development. According to UNEP’s report -’Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’, the country is also at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs. In this section, we spotlight the inspiring Green Economy case studies from the burgeoning Latin American nation. WED A-Z It takes only a few simple steps to easily green your daily routine and make good eco behavior into a habit! A Act now. Adopt as many eco-friendly lifestyle choices as you can and make them habits for WED! Add it up. Our impact is exponential when the global chorus sings together. B Buy FSC certified products and decrease the trade of exotic wood from endangered forests. Bring a cloth bag to do all you’re shopping. But not just for groceries, even on your trips to the mall. A sturdy, reusable bag will last for years, and only needs to be used 5 times to have a lower environmental impact than a plastic bag. Bring a mug with you whenever you go for take-out beverages, so you avoid using paper cups. Most paper cups are made in a way that makes it more difficult for them to degrade, and in some ways more hazardous to the planet than the plastic cup – so why not just bring your own mug for your favorite beverage? C Consume locally. You will help reduce the demand for cutting down forests in foreign countries to meet export demands. Choose public transport. Compost your organic food waste. Conserve energy. Turn off the lights to brighten our environment. Create a greenspace wherever you can from the car you drive to the building you live in. D Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. You will save as much as 3 gallons every time! Only 2, 5% of the world’s water is drinkable. Discover an alternative to using traditional wrapping paper for holidays and birthday gifts. E Engage in an environmental activity like school or neighborhood beautification or tree planting. Eat organic and locally grown foods and help reduce the clearing of forests for agricultural land. Educate your friends on how individual actions can have an exponential impact and motivate action for WED. F Find an unusual insect in your garden. Fewer than 10% of the world’s described species have been assessed to determine their conservation status. Form a group of peers or colleagues to oversee the greening of your school, neighborhood or workplace with recycling, car pooling, or energy-efficiency. Form a tree-planting group with family and friends and commit to planting and maintaining these trees together. G Green your office: print double-sided, turn off monitors, start an office recycling program. Grow an organic garden and your own delicious food. Give memberships to an environmental organization or seedlings as birthday gifts. Go electronic for bills and payments: at home, in the office, at the bank etc. H Host a World Environment Day celebration. Clean up your neighborhood, carpool with friends, have a vegan (no animal products) dinner party! I Identify the nature that surrounds you – take note of the beautiful plants and animals that you may not always appreciate. Learn about the amazing ecosystem services they provide. Improve the insulation of your home – it will really help your energy consumption…and your monthly bills! J Join a local environmental or conservation group. You can team up with those around you and make a real difference for your community. Jog outside and save the energy you would have used on the treadmill! K Kick the habit! Don’t print unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when you do print – always print double-sided! Keep your cup! When traveling on airplanes, ask to reuse your plastic cup. L Learn more about Brazil, this year’s host country. M Mobilize your networks! Message your friends about WED – facebook, twitter, orkut, SMS, text, phone, email – it doesn’t matter how, just get the word out! N Nominate a WED Hero from your world. Notify us about the great environmental work they’re doing and why they should be a WED Hero. O Optimize the use of your washing machine – use the cold-wash option and significantly save energy and reduce your daily carbon emissions. Offset your travel whenever possible – most airlines provide an option to offset your travel when you book your tickets. Opt for public transport whenever possible. P Plant a tree this year! Why not celebrate by planting a tree with friends or family. Pile up! Lay the grounds for a compost pile and start sorting your garbage. Q Quantify how much money you could save each cold winter if you lowered the temperature inside your home by 2 degrees Celsius. It could reduce your energy consumption by 14 percent!!! R Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. S Sacrifice something small each month – eat locally grown vegetables instead of imported vegetables; do without steak as cattle ranching is high impact!; carpool with co-workers; take your bike to work etc. Support and motivate companies that use certified materials and operate in ways that are environmentally responsible. Switch your lightbulbs to energy-efficient LED’s. You will see substantial savings on energy bills! T Think! How green is your daily routine? Just by making a few small changes, like remembering to turn off the lights, turning down the heat, stop running the water while you brush your teeth - you could cut your daily emissions by more than 60 per cent. U Use your common sense! Understand your options. Learn about the small ways you, as an individual, can make a positive impact on the environment. V Visit the website regularly and see how you can get involved! Book mark website, subscribe to RSS, Twitter or facebook W Whenever you feel like buying books, magazines, or newspapers go to your local library or borrow from friends and neighbors. X X-plore! Get out into the forest and enjoy what our planet has to offer. Y You can make a difference – individual actions, when multiplied, can make an exponential difference to the planet! Z Zip around town on your bike, on public transport, or your own two feet.


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