WED 2000- the first environment day of the third millennium- was hosted by Adelaide, South Australia and carried the message for a whole new millennium which went like ‘The Environment Millennium- Time to Act’. UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook Report 2000, which was released the previous year, had the alarming conclusion consolidated, that all our natural systems are in decline and time is running out to reverse this trend. An excerpt from the speech given by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer is given below:

 “Let me highlight some of the more pressing issues the planet faces. Many parts of the world face severe water shortages. About 20 per cent of the planet’s people lack access to safe drinking water and 50 per cent lack adequate sanitation. Weather events worldwide are becoming more frequently extreme. Land fertility is declining. Land degradation is increasing. The rapid growth of urbanization is causing massive air pollution. Nitrogen pollution is compromising terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as well as contributing to global warming. Over 80 per cent of the planet’s forests have been destroyed or degraded, a quarter of the world’s mammal species are at serious risk of extinction, and biological diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate. More than half the world’s coral reefs are threatened by human activities, and marine fisheries are being over-exploited to the point that their ability to quickly recover is in doubt.”


Stop pollution!


On record, eight of the hottest ten years till date had occurred the decade before and as the UNEP Deputy Executive Director pointed out in his speech, there were actual facts and figures speaking about the environmental degradation, and this was simply undeniable. There were more than enough reasons, the time had come for massive action.

The famous melting earth image

The event had the usual meetings, clean-up programmes, plant-tree programmes, and several other initiatives along with the distribution of Global 500 awards to those who have made outstanding contributions to protection of environment. The environmental agenda of the 21st century was laid out-environmental improvements which accompany economic and social gains and global cooperation for sustainable development.