World Environment Day 2022 - Only One Earth

Yayyyy! It’s world Environment Day!

The World Environment Day is celebrated every 5th of June to create awareness on the impact of human activities on the environment and encourage sustainable living. It is the biggest international day of the Environment, hence, it is usually accompanied by a plethora of events like webinars, seminars, outreaches, tree planting, photos and hashtags that sometimes the real message about environmental protection and sustainability could get lost amidst all the fanfare.

This is why I believe the 2022 theme “Only One Earth” is a perfect reminder of our place in the environment as humans and a way to measure our progress so far. 2022 is a historic milestone for the global environmental community as it marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, commonly regarded as the first international meeting on the environment.

To commemorate this, the same theme #OnlyOneEarth for the first WED was also adopted for 2022. #OnlyOneEarth advocates for transformative environmental change on a global scale. The campaign shines a spotlight on climate actionnature action and pollution action while encouraging everyone, everywhere to live sustainably in harmony with nature.

It is half a century now, how far have we come on this journey to environmental sustainability? Are we actually making an impact? Let’s analyse this for a second.

From time immemorial , much of human history has been written in terms of an ongoing struggle of "man against nature." To survive and prosper, man must conquer nature, kill the wild beasts, build dams to stop flooding, find medicines to fight disease, use chemicals to control the pests and many more.

Humans have been locked in a life and death struggle against "Mother Nature" and boy are we winning, battle after battle but guess what? We are loosing "The war". Every time we think we have won a battle, mother nature counter attacks. In our bid to become more civilised and industrialised , we have released harmful substances into the ecosystem, and how does mother nature fight back? She sends her five star general, Gen. Climate Change. This General has been at the helm of Environmental issues such as land degradation,  desertification, wild fires, flood, new diseases, loss of biodiversity and many more: the very things we are trying to conquer as “higher species”. It is a vicious cycle.

It's funny how pesticides formulated for killing "pests" are now getting into  our food supplies and in our drinking water causing various incurable diseases and health challenges. Much of the medicine we take today is to treat the symptoms caused by the medicines we take. The irony! With the emergence of the Corona Virus, MILLIONS have been admitted into hospitals with BILLIONS forced to lock themselves indoor. There is palpable fear, a lot of anxiety and uncertainty and it looks as though the world is about to enter a new age. We’ve been told there won't be a normal again... 

...But NATURE, has never been happier. Until recently before the resumption of phased Economic activities;

The atmosphere was clearer.

The air, pure.

Migrating birds were thriving.

Animals were returning to habitats in their numbers.

Rivers and water bodies have never been this clearer (you should checkout the story on Venice water ways).

Economic activities that exploit nature's resources were halted.

Sadly, this is how NATURE teaches us a lesson or two about why we need to PAY ATTENTION to the environment.

It is therefore clear we cannot win this war against nature, because we are a part of nature and a threat to nature consequently is a threat to us.

50 years later, humans are still searching for ways to sustain the earth of which we are a part of, to find harmony with nature! A new paradigm or model for working and living in harmony with nature is arising under the conceptual umbrella of sustainability.  The achievement of sustainable development in the 21st Century requires a Social and Ecological Contract among human beings and our Mother Earth. In other words, finding a balance.

Did you know? 

- More than 9 million people die yearly due to a pollution either directly or indirectly. This number is 3 times the total deaths recorded from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. 

- As a result of human activities such as poaching and destruction of animal habitat, over a million animal species have become extinct with several thousands more at the risk of extinction. 


The earth is our only home. It has been scientifically proven that man can only survive here on earth as it provides the right conditions for our survival. So, I’m here wondering why we are working tooth and nail to destroy it. We’re already contending with couples who promise their partners to give them the world, like where would the rest of us go? Pluto? Apparently, Pluto isn’t even a planet!

Evidently, we need to do better as humans, more than finding a balance,  to be the balance. Being the balance means paying attention to tree planting and nurturing, ensuring nothing is wasted that becomes toxic to the rest of the environment, managing your waste more efficiently, adopting clean energy to tasks as mundane as switching off the lights when you leave your house to carrying your grocery bag when shopping to patronising eco-friendly brands to brushing your teeth while the tap is off or turning the shower  off when you’re not in it.

I remember vividly when I was given a task to carry out as a participant during the Green Switch Academy VI organised by Plogging Nigeria to calculate our environmental and waste footprint. From that survey, if everyone were to live like me, we would require 6 earths to sustain us. 

A year later during the Green Switch Academy XV, I took the test again. With all the information I have now on Environmental sustainability, it came down to two earths. 

That is me being the balance making a difference one day at a time.

You can take yours using this link: 

While our individual consumption choices make a difference, it is however a collective action that will create the transformative environmental change we need, so we can advance to a more sustainable and just Earth, where everyone can flourish.

Remember, we have just one earth.

Patience Ehinlaiye

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