On Sunday, June 5th millions of people around the globe will celebrate World Environment Day. In the past, World Environment Day has helped raise awareness about many important but often controversial environmental issues such as o-zone depletion. In recent years, the focus has been on creating awareness to enact international mobilization around issues such as sustainable development, food and resource consumption.
This year’s theme is quite the undertaking: the illegal wildlife trade. The Go Wild for Life is a mobilization against illegal wildlife trade that is organized by the United Nations Environmental Programme. This practice is destroying natural heritage, increasing the risk of species survival and damaging the abundance of biodiversity by targeting endangered and rare species. According to the World Wildlife Fund, over 1.5 million live birds, 100 million tonnes of fish and 440,000 tonnes of medical plants has been estimated to have been traded in a single year. One of the main problems with the illegal wildlife trade is that it is almost impossible to track because it is practiced so covertly.
So why is trading wildlife illegally such a concerning issue? Well, not only does it target endangered species, it is often coupled with unethical and environmentally damaging harvesting methods and contributes to the growing overexploitation of wildlife. In fact, over-exploitation is the second biggest threat to species survival and therefore harms human livelihoods.
Support the Go Wild for Life campaign this World Environment day and take action against the illegal wildlife trade, protect threatened species for the future. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Read up! Take some time during your day to educate yourself about the illegal wildlife trade and the devastations that come with it. Click here to get acquainted with this year’s theme http://www.wed2016.com
- Share! Take all that information you have learned and share it with people around you. The more people who are aware, the more action that has been taken to stop the trade.
- Support and Engage! Attend a local World Environment Day event and support the community is their fight against illegal wildlife trade or create your own with these steps and open it to the public: http://www.wed2016.com/content/what-you-can-do
Stay Aware and Active! Don’t just commit to protecting threatened species one day a year. Start a local campaign or society, hold bake sales or little one off events to teach the local community or just simply stay knowledgeable on the topic and try to make a different one step at a time.