Highlights of the World Environment Day (WED) 2005 International Celebrations in San Francisco
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on the 5th of June every year in more that 100 countries around the world. The city of San Francisco, California, hosted this year’s international event. It was the first time the event takes place in the United States. The programming for "Green Cities" spanned the first five days in June. Each day focused on a specific theme: Urban Power, Cities on the Move, Redesigning Metropolis, Pure Elements, and Flower Power.
The event was hosted by San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Participants included California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore, and UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, heading the UNEP delegation.
Opening Ceremony at City Hall
The Opening Ceremony for World Environment Day took place in front of City Hall in Civic Center Plaza. It included a California Tomorrow Festival that showcased renewable energy technology products and services, while highlighting the companies that are leading the way in developing innovative solutions to global environmental challenges. The Festival showcased cutting edge photovoltaic systems, fuel cell and hybrid vehicles and a major installation from the Climate Group displayed global devastation resulting from climate change.
Time for Action
California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, stole the show at the Opening by unveiling a plan to combat global warming by setting goals for reducing California's emissions of Greenhouse gases. Schwarzenegger's executive order calls for reducing the state's emissions of such gases to 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Schwarzenegger told an international audience of mayors and environmentalists at San Francisco City Hall. "I say the debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know the time for action is now."
Children's Painting Competition Exhibit at Zeum
The global winners of UNEP’s Children’s Painting Competition were announced at a special ceremony on 3 June. An exhibition of the global winning entries was held at Zeum, the innovative arts and technology museum where youth and families bring the power of their imaginations to create stories, music, videos and art that reflect their world in relevant ways.
Atlas of our Changing Environment
Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), One Planet Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment was launched in San Francesco on WED. It sets out to compare and contrast spectacular satellite images of the past few decades with contemporary ones, some of which have never been seen before. The publication proved to be one of UNEP’s most successful ever, with spectacular sales record and unrivalled public demand for online and hard copies.
TUNZA Youth Workshop – Pledge for Greener Cities
Participants of the Pledge Workshop-San Francisco Bay Area (youth aged 13-17) identified actions they can commit to in order to create more sustainable lifestyles that will positively impact our communities and environment in the future. Each youth representative took the Youth Eco Pledge document back to their schools and communities and work on putting these ideas into action.
Two Expos, the Green Cities Expo and the Art Into Action Expo, were held jointly at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion in San Francisco. They highlighted present and future possibilities for green living. Art Into Action, sponsored by the Natural World Museum, featured monumental exhibits from National Geographic, Conservation International,
California Academy of Sciences, Canon, and over 30 local and global environmental artists, featuring original works from the private family collections of Ansel Adams and Robert Bateman.
The Green Cities Expo featured more than 100 green businesses committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Exhibitor categories included: organic foods, innovation and technology, renewable energy, recycling, sustainable agriculture, green building, natural health & body, and transportation.
Since its inception in 1972, World Environment Day has given a human face to environmental issues, and promoted an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes about the environment. UNEP provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.