World Environment Day takes place every year on the 5 of June and was established by UNEP in 1974. This year, World Environmental Day was hosted by Sweden, the country responsible for promoting what the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP, 2022) designated as “the largest global platform for environmental public outreach”.
The hashtag #ONLYONEEARTH is a powerful reminder for our society to protect the environmental heritage.
World Environment Day comes to highlight the emergency that the planet is currently facing due to global warming. The increased threat of extinction and habitat loss caused by the many sources of pollution and global warming define the urgency for discussion about our choices and actions. “The climate is heating up too quickly for people and nature to adapt” UNEP (2022).
The central issue is that time is running out and we need to take collective action to limit the impact of climate change, whilst achieving the sustainable development goals which impact all three sectors of society: social, political, and economic.
As well as the impacts produced by the traditional unsustainable economic model, the paradigms and the alarmism of fake news need to be rethought, discussed, and determined. World Environment Day day comes to stimulate and disclose knowledge and break through the barrier of misinformation.
So, what are the facts about climate change?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) produced a special report this year which detailed the impacts of global warming, and clear instruction on how society can limit it to 1.5 °C.
For SEaB, this report highlighted the importance of the circular economy model. Currently our conventional global resource consumption needs an equivalent 1.6 earths to meet global demand without depleting natural resources.
Without strong and rapid implementation of sustainable practices, it is almost impossible to prevent the global average temperature from increasing to dangerous levels.
It is urgent to establish and follow sustainable consumption patterns. There is no other way to stop the full depletion of our planet. #OnlyOneEarth.
Climate change is determined by key points. Floods, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes are the multiple faces of this environmental crisis. It is possible to consider the emergency character of the issue, exemplified by the number of deaths and the affecteds of disasters, in 2020.
Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of serious disasters. The frequency and amplitude are determined by global warming. The IPCC concerns are exemplified by the deaths and all effects around the world. In 2020, most of the deaths concentrated between 1 and 10.000. Related to the disasters, this number is expressive. It is concentrated between 1 and 10 million (Our World Data, 2020).
According to UNEP(2022), added to that, climate change will be the reason for approximately 250.000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. The time of response to these events depends on the investments made available by the policies. Unfortunately, developing countries with weak infrastructure will suffer more intensely and directly proportional to their resilience to crises. The global investments required are around USD 2-4 billion/year by 2030. The average amount is sufficient to cover health infrastructure costs to support the diseases caused by climate change.
All, that is essential to human survival depends on these determinants. Clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter. The certainty that this is a possible reality for everyone is compromised by the economic model of exaggerated and unsustainable production and consumption.
The linear economic model means today “take, make, waste”. Why?! The way from the extraction of natural resources until the waste disposal is linear. Even though the world watches how affected are the population, the levels of the extraction are extensive and continuous. The UNEP(2022) estimates extraction has tripled from 1970 and will grow 70% by 2050. All global efforts were redirected to World Environmental Day. The estimates alert governments and the public to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and full defloration.
So, what is the way to mitigate climate change?
Sustainable development is the only path where it is possible to establish the foundations for socio-environmental justice. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, by all UN, to enable “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. These goals were made to tackle climate change and work to preserve our oceans and forests.
In 2022, Celebrating the World Environmental Day continue to be the base of each policy and plan for the future! This year launched the “UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030” to propose a sustainable action plan to protect biodiversity. The UN initiatives and campaigns in this decade will stimulate prevention, halting, and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.
Could the circular economy be a better choice for the future?
We can say, yes. But, UNEP(2022) highlights only 8,6% of the companies around the world are circular.
The transition to a circular economy could contribute to the environment and businesses. World Environment Day promotes innovation and sustainable initiatives for economic development. It is what reinforces the achievements of humanity under the United Nation advocacy tool.
The reasons are simple! To the environment, following low carbon policies and goals, circularity can provide mechanisms to decarbonize the world. The business can avoid the damage caused by climate change and open space in a new and sustainable market.
Although climate change causes many environmental impacts, the financial loss even compromises the annual GDP of the countries. The US GDP, for example, affected by floods, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes, have annual losses to the U.S. federal. The Withe House estimates, at the end of the century, a budget of about $2 trillion each year by the end of the century — a 7.1% loss in annual revenue. In Brazil, the droughts caused a decrease in rainfall and the reservoirs have reached their lowest level in 90 years. The federal government spent R$ 37 billion to activate all the thermal plants, including the most expensive, diesel. Thermals should be the last option. But, the government doesn’t consider climate change. Once, causing financial losses borne by the consumer and socio-environmental impacts borne by all.
What is happening in Brazil, is something common in many countries. The federal government doesn’t consider climate change in the government plan. This creates a ripple effect. In the energy sector, for example, the energy crisis is worse because it disregards climate change.
According to the World Economic Forum(2022), in general, the cost of climate adaptation in developing nations is now estimated to be $500 billion a year. This is not only the cost, but the biggest reminder that we are one planet and nothing is so forever, like this certainty. If we don’t preserve what we have, what will be left for future generations?
A global network of green businesses, especially CEO,s, are using their influence in various industrial sectors. Even if they aren’t the majority this is an initiative to develop cost-effective solutions to transition to a circular economy. Investing and defending the low-carbon, climate-resilient economy delivering to a safer climate.
Celebrate #ONLYONEEAR is creating a positive impact. Change habits and choose better. It strengthens the ecological, economical, and societal systems. And the most important is to think about how sustainable are our actions and how they affect our fellow. The development will only be sustainable if social justice and environmental preservation go hand in hand with the economy!
Join SEaB, in this fight, to make Environment Day, every day, and for everyone!