Today is World Environment Day, another day, another attempt to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and to get people and governments to take action. Awareness? Once more I didn’t know a thing about it until….. today!

I learnt about the event at around 9.15 am this morning when reading one of the free papers on the tube on the way into work. Just a small article, and nothing telling me how I could get involved, or if I could get involved. On looking it up on the web from work this lunchtime I discovered that the day is being hosted by New Zealand. Or should I say was, because of course in New Zealand, the day is already over!

I also learnt that WED has been going for a long time - since 1972 in fact, and that there are events taking place all over the world, and quite a few in the UK, to mark it. What surprises me, however, is that I knew absolutely nothing about it, and I am an avid consumer of all things media, especially if it’s about the environment. There has been no lead up to the day, no-one has contacted me, my friends and family, or my company about doing something, and now it’s too late.

I have two thoughts arising from this:

  1. The environment has become an almost daily topic of discussion for almost everyone. We are all beginning to understand that it is important that we all do our bit, whether we believe that the world is in trouble or not. It’s just common sense. Days like World Environment Day are an opportunity to raise awareness even further, but they are just not getting the publicity they need, even when organised by powerful global organisations such as the United Nations. This needs to change, and the people responsible for communications within these organisations need to look at the reasons why the message is not yet getting out there as it should. Maybe they should worry less about the ‘official’ media channels, and make use of other powerful communications such as the blogosphere?
  2. On the other hand, shouldn’t every day be World Environment Day? I am of course a fan of any event that gets the CO2 reduction message out to as many people as possible, but to me this message, and the simple things we can do to reduce emissions, should become a part of our everyday lives. If we keep a few basic actions in mind at all times, it becomes so easy to make a difference - and to save money too, and then these ‘event’ days become about something else: a chance for all the people who understand the issue to place more pressure on their governments who still seem reluctant to take the necessary action.

Anyway, now I know about it, I’ll put it in the diary for next year (done - that’s the wonder of digital diaries). In the meantime, if you want to know more, why not visit the official World Environment Day site. I’ve also posted a question for Naomi Poulton, a member of UNEP who is answering questions about the day. I’ve asked her whether she feels they get the media support they need to publicise WED and other events. I will update this article with her reply as and when I get it.