Only One Earth: World Environmental Day
Catalonia, Spain5 Juin 2020
In 1972, the UN agreed to designate June 5 as World Environment Day, in memory of the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. On the same day, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was created. Since then, the concept of ‘environment’ has inspired countless public, social and private organizations, legislation at all scales, policies and actions, around the world, which present themselves as a vital necessity to stop self-destructive tendencies in the world. which we are immersed in.
The fact that this concept was created in the West in the middle of the last century, and that it is absent from the vast majority of languages in the world, shows that it serves to help make us aware of our interdependence with the environment, an evidence that modern civilization has largely ignored — tragically for all. Therefore, to reconnect with the tangible reality of the Earth, with its rhythms and processes, it is now appropriate to demand the ‘environmentalisation” / “greening’ of policies, actions, projects or lifestyles.
Unlike venerable concepts such as Creation, Nature or Earth (linked to sacred values or connotations in many cultures and spiritual traditions) the concept of ‘environment’ is techno-scientific, emotionally neutral. That is probably why, in 1974, the UN chose as the motto of this day “Only one Earth”, and not “Only one Environment”. Moreover, “Only One Earth” was the title of a book, signed by Barbara Word and René J. Dubos, published in 1972, that collected the main results of the 1972 Stockholm Conference, including profound and interesting ethical reflections on the care of this only earthly home we all share.