World Environment Day next week: Canada mostly inactive

Many readers will remember that Canada used to celebrate Environment Week during the first week of June. Environment Week was established through the initiative of former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1971. In 1972 the United Nations established June 5th as World Environment Day, coinciding with Canada’s Environment Week.

Canada used to be a major player in World Environment Day, and was of course the key sponsor in Environment Week,  but it does not look as though that will be the case this year.  Last year Environment Canada established a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/events/141325742600417/ , to promote Environment Week. Last year’s page is still posted, with no update for 2012.

The United Nations Environment Program maintains a catalog of World Environment Day activities, to which event organizers are invited to post event notices. The United States has almost 90 events posted in major cities across the country, with many of them in Washington DC. The United Kingdom has 40 events posted, several of them in London, and Brazil has more than 90 events well distributed across the country. Canada has 26 events posted, of which 10 are in Montreal and none are in Ottawa.

Environment Canada claims that the theme of this year’s Canadian Environment Week is “Working for a Clean, Safe and Sustainable Environment” but there is no evidence that anything is happening in our Nation’s Capital to promote the theme.

GallonDaily recognizes that counting the number of World Environment Day events is not a good way to measure a country’s commitment to the environment but when much of the rest of the World is organizing events around World Environment Day we would suggest that our inaction is not going to help our environmental reputation.

There is still time to register World Environment Day events with the UNEP database. Hopefully there is someone in Ottawa who believes that this is one registry on which our Nation’s Capital should appear.

To view the World Environment Day event database, or to learn more about World Environment Day, visit http://www.unep.org/wed/activities/

To view Environment Canada’s commentary on Environment Week 2012 visit http://www.ec.gc.ca/sce-cew/default.asp?lang=En&n=69DF79A5-1#X-201005101423559

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