World Environment Day: constructive and supportive action is needed now more than ever

5 Jun, 2023 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 5 June 2023

Every 5 June, World Environment Day is celebrated at the global level, which was established by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 and adopted in 1973. The Stockholm Conference had a huge impact, since it was the first time the integration between the environment and human interactions had been discussed at the global level, especially trying to draw attention to what was causing damage to the environment. Over the years, it has engaged several actors, such as governments, non-government organisations, businesses and civil society with the purpose and the effort to address pressing environmental issues; most of all, citizens who could have played through time a crucial role in daily life activities, thanks to an increased amount of awareness spread and the choice to act in defence of the environment.

The reasons to all of this? To survive and thrive, we need places to host our presence and nature to provide all the necessary elements for us to exist. Thus, as every living being on Earth, we humans depend on the well-being of our environments to survive.  Since the times of the Industrial Revolution, the destruction of nature has been increasing – first gradually and then always more at alarming rates – and its consequences have been worsening due to the justification of what constitutes the “fundamentals” of economic growth.
Equally, another important factor is how nowadays humans perceive the environment and nature in general. Since the 19th century, a dominant Western narrative sustaining that humans are the most important species of all on this planet was consolidated at a global scale. During the waves of Industrial Revolutions of the Western World, the idea of humans being separated from nature was further consolidated, institutionalising the perspective of nature as a mere tool for economic and trading matters. This led always more to a feeling of detachment and disconnection between Western people and nature itself, then spread widely in other several parts of the world. If this narrative is not questioned and changed, we will not succeed in our goal.

As every living species, we breathe air provided by trees, we drink freshwater provided by the water cycles and we eat plants provided by the soil: we are not separated from nature, but we live within it. Therefore, destroying the environment entails destroying ourselves and breaking that cycle is essential. Constructive and supportive action is needed now more than ever. Trying to restore the needed clarity of mind when it comes to current conditions of the planet and raising awareness about topics of sustainability and protection of the environment represent the core of this recurring event.

NPWJ reaffirms its commitment and its values linked to the protection of the environment all around the world. We also take this opportunity to recall that it is key to support national and international stakeholders committed to the objectives of the reducing our footprint impact on Earth, including all environmental defenders and activists, indigenous peoples worldwide that fight for the protection of the environment. Furthermore, NPWJ continues to advocate for safeguarding the Amazon rainforest and seeks to end impunity arisen from the deforestation so that best practices and policies can benefit, rather than harm, Amazonia and its people. The Amazon rainforest and its indigenous communities play a fundamental role in the maintenance of the ecological balance both of the region and of the whole planet, therefore they shall be taken into account in current and future efforts towards ecosystem restoration.