With the world fighting a pandemic together and most countries in lockdown, the environment seems to have benefited slightly. Nature seems to have been busy reclaiming its spaces. Among other things, it is getting to breathe and clean itself a little, in the absence of the constant flurry of human activities. Why is that important? It is, because just like other things, the environment needs some downtime, too. And human beings anyway have a tendency to take everything for granted, including the resources they get from nature.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the sun rays that reach us, and the food that we consume every day, are all gifts from the environment, and as such, it becomes important that they are respected, their values understood. World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5, to remind people to not take nature for granted, and to read the signs, understand them, and act accordingly. It is one of the biggest annual events in the world run by the United Nations to raise awareness among people. It is believed that the day was designed by the UN General Assembly in the year 1972, on the first day of the UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. First World Environment Day was held in 1974 with the theme “Only One Earth”; it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging from environmental issues to marine pollution, human overpopulation and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.

2020’s theme is “Time for Nature”, and it will be hosted in Colombia, in partnership with Germany. The theme is connected to biodiversity and is extremely relevant, because human beings are part of the ecosystem and cannot continue to survive in isolation. Biodiversity is important for the survival of all living things, big and small, on land or in water. We need to understand that while there may be a food chain and ranking species, every living thing is connected to another living thing, and together it forms a network of diverse life forms on the planet.

This year, the theme of diversity has special meaning. In the light of recent events in United State, rooted in killing of George Floyd, we also need to understand and respect the diversity existing among us, people. It’s difficult to celebrate diversity of nature, if even among us it is difficult to cherish our differences and admit, that it is good to be different and that every life matter. It’s not only plants and animals that are in danger of extinction; there are many ethnic groups who are facing this danger as well, because so called 1st world countries haven’t still learnt to respect what is different.

You can do your bit today by educating other people and also bringing some lifestyle changes yourself, so as to put less burden on the environment.