World Environment Day can be celebrated in many ways. The following are a selection of inspiring examples of how World Environment Day was celebrated in 2004 with the theme/slogan: Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?; in 2005 with the theme/slogan: Green Cities: Plan for the Planet!; in 2006 Deserts and Desertification: Don't Desert Drylands!; and in 2007 Melting Ice - A Hot Topic?
The Hospital of the City of Graz (LKH) celebrated World Environment Day for the first time in 2007. Visitors were invited to walk down a virtual path of the Sun, where several attractions on the use of solar energy were displayed. They were able to see a solar thermal power for the indoor pool for children’s rehabilitation and a solar voltaic to charge a battery of accumulators for electric powered motorbikes that will replace cars for documents transportation within the area. The public was also invited to try a solar powered ear chair telling those who sit in it legends about the sun from all over the world, as well as to visit a bookshop focused on the sun and solar energy and an art room with children’s solar graphics and paintings. The attractions also included two tents where children were able to experiment with solar generated voltage, while parents listened to a solar power consultant and, every two hours, a speech by professors from the nearby university about the topic of the day The Sun.
In 2007, the Office of the Coordinator of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Economic and Environmental Activities, located in Vienna, organized for the permanent representatives of its 56 participating states a visit to the European centre of renewable energy in the city of Güssing, Austria. The City Council of Güssing decided in 1990 to phase out fossil energy and to move towards renewable and sustainable energy supply. Güssing became famous for its "energy-autarchy", based 100 % on renewable energy. The city represents an ideal showcase on how to address environmental threats caused by fossil energies and how feasible, cost-effective and economically sound technologies can lead to a successful and sustainable global concept, based on the interaction among partners and the local community. The daytrip included a visit to a biomass plant, a photovoltaic plant and a school for solar energy.
In 2004, Green Week, organized by the European Commission (EC) and the Director-General (DG) of the Environment, took place on 1-4 June. The EC and the DG announced the launch of the new “Clean Marine Award”, which was presented for the first time. The awards, in keeping with the theme seas and oceans, were announced in the European Commission’s Communication on a European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships. The objective is to give positive publicity to environmentally responsible shipping, specifically low-emission initiatives and to disseminate best practice. The Commission plans to celebrate these ceremonies on a biannual basis, through high profile events.
To mark World Environment Day 2006, SOS Health, a Bulgarina NGO, organized a number of activities that involved children and youth from different schools and the Friends of the Environment Centre. These activities comprised making posters, painting, photography, web design and drawing exhibitions, as well as essay, poem, slogan, greeting card and collage competitions.
In 2006, UNDP’s initiative on the island, Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT), participated in an environmental stakeholder fair entitled Ecoforum 2006. The Fair featured a series of lectures on desertification and on the environmental principles of the global compact, an exhibition of NGO environmental projects supported by UNDP-ACT and workshops for environmental businesses and environmental NGOs. In parallel, they are providing small grants for four-month environmental projects, such as the Olive Tree Rescue project and the Management of Artificial Wetlands project.
For the first time in Prague, a large-scale environmental event EKOFESTIVAL was organized to celebrate World Environment Day 2007. The festival was co-organized by Green Circle, member of the UNEP National Committee, and the Czech Environmental Information Agency, under the theme ‘sustainable consumption’. It brought together around twenty environmental groups which provided information and services related to the theme. Environmental labelling, Fair Trade and organic products were the main topics discussed and presented. The participants also had an opportunity to enjoy several thematic games and live folk music.
In January 2005, Veolia Environnement, an environmental services company, launched an international awareness campaign, entitled Streamers Around The World, around the theme "The environment, it's my nature… and my health". The campaign involved classes in 20 countries/regions. Primary schools children, aged between 9 and 11, designed their "streamers" symbolizing environmental protection, and wrote a short text explaining the thinking behind it. For World Environment Day, all the countries that have participated in the campaign organized simultaneous activities, including streamer expositions in schools, city halls, museum, and in operational sites managed by Veolia Environment. In France, the streamers were displayed at the Jardin du Luxembourg of the French Senate and workshops for children were conducted by professionals.
In 2004, the City Council of Paris put an announcement on 177 electronic panels throughout the City from 26 May to 5 June. In addition, 100 World Environment Day posters were displayed in city halls and public libraries.
In 2005, the association Green Way launched a project entitled “Earth Festival” which included a Forum on the Day; the establishment of a “Green Fund”; the launch of a Small Grant Competition; and activities to benefit charities. The Forum involved environmental NGO representatives, legislative and executive bodies, the business sector, donors and the diplomatic corps. During the Forum, invitees were given an opportunity to promote their activities and achievements and to highlight the problems that they are facing and to illustrate possible solutions.
In 2004, the United World Philharmonic Youth Orchestra launched on its web site a seven-minute video-clip. The orchestra played the second movement Jeux de Vagues of Claude Debussy’s La mer, which was synchronized with images of seas and oceans.
In 2006, the Hellenic Tennis Federation (HTF) organized a junior tennis tournament entitled The Green Tennis Tournament. The event took place in all tennis clubs in Greece and involved young people between 8 and 18 years of age. In every category, there was an ‘Environment 2006’ winner. In support of the HTF program ‘Poverty and Environment’, every player gave two pounds for a child in a developing country that had been adopted by a school or family in his/her area.
The Landvernd, Icelandic Environment Association, awarded the Blue Flag to Nauthólsvík beach in Reykjavik in 2005. On this occasion, Global Action Plan (GAP) for the Earth, one of Landvernd’s international programmes, organized a bicycle parade from Reykjavík harbor to Nauthólsvík beach, under the slogan "A Bicycle-Friendly City”.
In 2006, Ambiente Club with the Common of Bellaria -- Igea Marina organized a film festival prize Environment-Sail as part of the Bellaria-Igea Marina Film Festival on 1 to 5 June. The Festival, in its 24th year, established a new prize dedicated to the environment. The winner is chosen from all the documentaries and films about the environment submitted for consideration.
The Nobel Peace Center hosted in 2007 Envisioning Change, an exhibition featuring works of art from 40 artists representing 25 countries, organized by Natural World Museum (NWM) in partnership with UNEP. This exhibit, sponsored by Autodesk, a world leader in 2D and 3D design software, was launched during a VIP reception, followed by an outdoor concert and speeches by environmental celebrities, featuring Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai. Each year for WED, as part of the ongoing Art for the Environment initiative, NWM and UNEP present an exhibit designed to utilize the universal language of art as a catalyst to unite people in action and thought and to empower individuals, communities, and leaders to focus on environmental values across social, economic, and political realms. In 2007, the theme of Climate Change was addressed from a global perspective - the melting and thawing of ice, snow and permafrost are environment-altering changes taking place around the world - from the Andes to the Himalayas to the melting ice caps of the Poles.
In 2006, environmentalists joined forces with entertainers and set up a family day at the amusement park Kongeparken (The King's Park), nearby Stavanger. There was a show, exhibits and a variety of activities concerning desertification, clean drinking water, recycling and other environmental issues. The event was co-organized by the Young Agenda 21 foundation, Kongeparken and the Norwegian UNEP Committee.
The city of Tromso hosted the main celebrations of World Environment Day 2007. The city has the world's northernmost university and the Norwegian Polar Institute, both of which are key players in the research arena. Several events were organized during the first week of June, and they included: street celebrations, international conference, publications and a youth film festival.
To mark World Environment Day 2007, students from the secondary school D. João V, built paper wind-mills with messages about environmental problems and attended a workshop on re-use of paper and plastic. They also produced booklets to be handed out in the community, containing do's and dont's to help the planet.
400 children, from the pre-school to high-school, did a 1 km walk on 5 June 2007 to celebrate World Environment Day. Car circulation was stopped during the walk that ended in the front of the Environment Protection Agency. An award ceremony was held there for the painting and essay contests with the theme of climate change.
For the third consecutive year, IHOBE - the public society of environmental management of the Basque Government Environmental Department – organized Basque Green Week (Aste Berdea) from 31 May to 6 June 2004. For the first time, more than 51 municipalities participated in the Green Week with more than 200 activities including exhibitions, films, conferences, visits to factories, theatres, competitions (photos, flowers, painting), and ecological agriculture exhibits.
Several activities were organized in Geneva to mark World Environment Day 2005. UNEP flags were displayed on the city’s Pont du Mont-Blanc throughout the week leading up to 5 June. A roundtable focused on the theme Green Cities was also held at the International Environment and was attended by more than 100 people from Geneva’s international and environmental community. The roundtable examined success stories and lessons learned from the movement to green Europe’s cities. The Swiss authorities then hosted a reception at which guests were able to view several exhibitions prepared for the occasion. A large-scale event targeting the general public was also organized jointly with the City and Canton of Geneva, for the fourth consecutive year. This sustainable development fair drew some 20,000 inhabitants from Geneva and surroundings.
Some 1,000 scouts and students participated in educational games like grand bingo, labyrinths, snakes and ladders, and treasure hunts at the environmental festival organised by the District Municipality of Etimegsut and Ankara Scout and Guides to celebrate World Environment Day 2007. Participants also took part in awareness campaigns and workshops on environmental issues.
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
The Newcastle City Council held in 2007 the World Environment Day Fair and Exhibition. Over 20 exhibitors took part in the event that showcased a fuel-efficient Honda Civic car, a food stall for selling a range of items made from locally-sourced produce, displays on sustainable design issues and renewable energy. A climate change garden display was based outside a major bookshop and an ice sculptor, Darren Brinskey, produced an ice sculpture of a polar bear.
In 2006, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) Green Team called for volunteers to join the clean up of the city centre. The event was an opportunity to raise awareness of the public, businesses, tourists and the community at large to the need to keep Edinburgh clean. Members of the Green Team hoped that their actions would show the community how big an issue litter has become. Littered streets damage business and tourism opportunities and costs Scottish Council taxpayers £65 million a year. In conjunction with the Keep Scotland Tidy initiative and Visit Scotland and to raise awareness on the adverse effects of litter on the natural environment and to local tourism, EICC provided biodegradable litterbags to conference delegates.
To celebrate World Environment Day 2007, Walsall Council had a tour bus travelling around the local business parks to promote energy saving advice to businesses. Other events were held in the town centre and included distribution of free goodie bags with energy saving tips and advice in them, and involvement from the local schools.