The World Environment Day is commemorated each year on the 5th June with the goal of promoting environmental awareness around the world and strengthening political action to protect the Earth. The 2008 World Environment Day will focus on greenhouse gas emissions reduction in an attempt to encourage individuals, companies and governments around the world to make the necessary changes to fight global warming. The main international celebrations of World Environment Day 2008 will be held in Wellington, New Zealand.
This year’s pledges to protect the earth are precluded by UNEP’s “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy” ad campaign which offers alternative lifestyle choices that promote low carbon economies such as investing in improved energy efficiency, using renewable energy sources, conservation of forests and eco-friendly consumption of individuals around the world. Featured in the “Kick the Habit” campaign is Founding President of Green Cross Mikhail Gorbachev. In honor of the 2008 World Environment Day’s “Kick the Habit” campaign, Mr. Gorbachev urges to take action. He stresses that one of humanity’s greatest challenges is “the need for viable and clean energy solutions”. He warns that failure to act could lead to world crisis, still avoidable by early action. “Energy,” he emphasizes, should be “a catalyst for peace and development”. Mr. Gorbachev is joined by Angelique Kidjo, Samuel Eto’o, Richard Branson, Gong Li, and Gabriel Yard on this campaign.
Current “oil addiction” of the world does not only contribute to the calamitous climate change and related humanitarian disasters, but will also have a devastating cost-related impact if we fail to get rid of this “addiction”. Failure to act will place both the developed and developing world at great risk of serious economic, political, environmental, and social crises as conventional energy supplies become more scarce and competition for them turns fierce. Therefore, GCI has been working on projects that will lower the cost and enhance the efficiency of renewable energy such as solar power in order to develop a safe solution to the multitude of problems including energy security, ever-increasing energy consumption and climate change.
Aside from the UNEP Kick the Habit campaign, Green Cross activities around the globe have marked the occasion of World Environment Day. Matt Petersen, CEO of Global Green USA (Green Cross US affiliate) was invited to lead the Hilary Institute Symposium in New Zealand as keynote speaker and Hilary Senior Fellow, alongside Nobel-winning Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Hilary Institute’s mission is to award international leadership for positive change with this year’s focus on climate change initiatives.
World Environment Day was also an opportunity for the Green Cross Burkina Faso national office to launch the “Prevention of Water-Related Conflcts in the Volta Basin” project, known as in French as “Prévention des Conflits liés à la Gestion des Ressources Naturelles dans le Bassin de la Volta (PRECOGRN)”. The project is a joint effort between Green Cross national offices of Switzerland and Burkina Faso to increase access to water in the Yatenga region. Under the patronage of the Minister of Environment of Burkina Faso, a ceremony was held today to introduce and officially launch the project.