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Today is the United Nation's World Environment Day, which encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It began in 1972 and is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.
This year's theme—connect people to nature—encourages people to go outside and "breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too."
Here are 10 #WorldEnvironmentDay tweets worth reading in celebration of this important day:
1. Celebrating biodiversity with Haikus (New York, USA)
The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) has compiled a collection of 82 haiku poems that celebrate the diversity of life on Earth. Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that takes nature as its focus, centered around a moment in daily life. Contributed by more than 60 friends, family, and colleagues from UNDP and partners, the publication will be presented at UNDP offices on WED. The publication is also available for free download at the UNDP website.
2. Exhibition: "Butterflies in Aragon" (Zaragoza, Spain)
This exhibition highlights both the beauty of butterfly and moth species found in Aragon, Spain, and the increasing risks that these species and other pollinators currently face. Highlighting the vulnerability of numerous species to the effects of climate change, the exhibition informs visitors of citizen and science efforts to contribute to their conservation.
3. Explore your habitat (worldwide)
U.N. Environment and iNaturalist have partnered to help build the world's largest nature database. They're asking people to get out this WED and record the wonders of biodiversity in their own backyards, to help discover and keep track of precious plants and wildlife. By downloading the iNaturalist app, people can upload their observations to share with the iNaturalist community to help catalogue biological diversity.
4. Free national park visits (Canada)
As host country for this year's WED and as part of the country's 150th Anniversary celebrations, the Canadian government is offering free entry to its national parks, migratory bird sanctuaries, and marine conservation areas. People can also learn about local conservation initiatives and the Ecological Gifts Program, which allows Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature.
5. King's Cross World Environment Day Event (London, United Kingdom)
A range of activities are taking place for WED at Pancras Square in Kings Cross, London. London Wildlife Trust will be giving tours of Camley Street Natural Park. The University of the Arts London has developed the Deep Time Walk app, taking participants on a 4.6km journey of the Earth's history where each meter represents 1 million years. Tours of Two Pancras Square, one of the U.K.'s most environmentally friendly office buildings, are also available for those interested in sustainable design.
6. Litterati – A Global Cleanup (worldwide)
The Litterati is a global community striving to eradicate litter one piece at a time. By downloading an app, users can identify, collect, and geotag the world's litter, tracking their impact and helping to identify which brands and products are found in specific locations. The Litterati community has mapped and picked up 250,000-plus pieces in 100-plus countries, adding about 5,000 pieces each week.
7. Screening: Racing Extinction (Texas, USA)
To celebrate WED, a free-to-the-public film screening of Racing Extinction is being held at Gilruth Conference Center, Houston, Texas. In Racing Extinction, Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Stacy Shutts, Lead for Sustainability at the Johnson Space Center, and Lisa Lin with Rice University will participate in a panel discussion following the film.
8. Web Art Garden (worldwide)
Web Art Garden is an international network of people interested in art, culture, and environmental issues who share experiences from their own ecology through artistic activity. This may include performance, dance, singing, writing, lecture, meditation, and more. Events will be created throughout the world on World Environment Day and shared through the UNEP photo album.
9. World Environment Day Festival (Sunshine Coast, Australia)
Established in 1979 by the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), the WorldEnvironment Day Festival in Queensland, Australia, hosts a range of activities to inspire an ecologically responsible lifestyle and connect the community. The festival has grown into the region's biggest environmental event with workshops, art installations, food stalls, and more than forty environment and community groups to connect with and learn from.
10. YogiWalkie (Fégréac, France)
The YogiWalkie is a two-hour hike that combines the techniques of yoga with sensory immersion in nature. Held on June 7, the course weaves through rich forest, waterways, and marshes, highlighting the region's flora and fauna. Emphasizing local biodiversity, the YogieWalkie aims to promote conservation efforts in the region.
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.