World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought takes place each June 17. The purpose of the world Day to combat desertification and drought is to educate people concerning the causes of drought and highlight ways to prevent desertification and recover from drought. Each annual celebration has a different theme. Desertification is a type of land degradation in which relatively dry area of land becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. It is caused by a variety of factors, such as through climate change and through the overexploitation of soil through human activities. When deserts appear automatically over the natural course of a planet’s life cycle, then it can be called a natural phenomenon; however, when deserts emerge due to the rampant and unchecked depletion of nutrients in soil that are essential for it to remain arable, then a virtual “soil death” can be spoken of, which traces its cause back to human overexploitation. Desertification is a significant global ecological and environmental problem. Desertification is defined as “the process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought or improper/ inappropriate agriculture”. Desertification Is defined by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) as “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.

The world’s most noted deserts were formed by natural processes interacting over long intervals of time. During most of these times, deserts have grown and shrunk independent of human activities. Paleodeserts are large sand seas now inactive because they are stabilized by vegetation, some extending beyond the present margins of core deserts, such as the Sahara, the largest hot desert. The immediate cause of desertification is the loss of most vegetation. This is driven by a number of factors, such as drought, climatic shifts, tillage for agriculture, overgrazing and deforestation for fuel or construction materials. Vegetation plays a major role in determining the biological composition of the soil. Studies have shown that, in many environments, the rate of erosion and runoff decreases exponentially with increased vegetation cover. Unprotected, dry soil surfaces blow away with the wind or are washed away by flash floods, leaving infertile lower soil layers that bake in the sun and become an unproductive hard the controlled movement of herds of livestock, mimicking herds of grazing wildlife, may help to reverse desertification.

Desertification has played a significant role in human history, contributing to the collapse of several large empires, such as Carthage, Greece, and the Roman Empire, as well as causing displacement of local populations. Historical evidence shows that the serious and extensive land deterioration occurring several centuries ago in arid regions had three epicenters: the Mediterranean, the Mesopotamian Valley, and the Loess Plateau of China, where population was dense. At least 90% of the inhabitants of drylands live in developing nations, where they also suffer from poor economic and social conditions. This situation is exacerbated by land degradation because of the reduction in productivity, the precariousness of living conditions and the difficulty of access to resources and opportunities. A downward spiral is created in many underdeveloped countries by overgrazing, land exhaustion and overdrafting of groundwater in many of the marginally productive world regions due to overpopulation pressures to exploit marginal drylands for farming. Decision-makers are understandably averse to invest in arid zones with low potential. This absence of investment contributes to the marginalisation of these zones. When unfavourable agro-climatic conditions are combined with an absence of infrastructure and access to markets, as well as poorly adapted production techniques and an underfed and undereducated population, most such zones are excluded from development. Desertification often causes rural lands to become unable to support the same sized populations that previously lived there. This results in mass migrations out of rural areas and into urban areas, particularly in Africa. These migrations into the cities often cause large numbers of unemployed people, who end up living in slums.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares that “we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, SDG Goal 15: Life on Land states the resolve of the United Nations and the SDG signatory nations to halt and reverse land degradationTechniques and countermeasures exist for mitigating or reversing the effects of desertification. One controversial solution is to manager population growth. Another way of mitigating Desertification is to adopt sustainable agricultural practices. However the costs of adopting these sometimes exceed the financial benefits for individual farmers, even while they are socially and environmentally beneficial. Another issue is a lack of political will, and lack of funding to support land reclamation and anti-desertification programs.

Desertification is recognized as a major threat to biodiversity. Some countries have developed Biodiversity Action Plans to counter its effects, particularly in relation to the protection of endangered flora and fauna. Reforestation can help stop one root cause of desertification and is not just treat of the symptoms. In many places deforestation and desertification are contributing to extreme poverty and many organisations focus on educating the local population about the dangers of deforestation and sometimes employ them to grow seedlings, which they transfer to severely deforested areas during the rainy season. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched the FAO Drylands Restoration Initiative in 2012 to draw together knowledge and experience on dryland restoratio In 2015, FAO published global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands, in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Age.

Currently, one of the major methods that has been finding success in this battle with desertification is China’s “Great Green Wall.” This plan was proposed in the late 70’s, and has become a major ecological engineering project involving the planting of nearly 66,000,000,000 tress planted in China’s great green wall. It’s success depends upon providing enough water, Fixating and hyper-fertilizing soil. Fixating the soil is often done through the use of shelter belts, woodlots and windbreaks. Windbreaks are made from trees and bushes and are used to reduce soil erosion and evapotranspirati. Due to lack of water some soils can become consolidated rather than porous (as in the case of sandy soils. techniques such as zaï or tillage are then used to still allow the planting of crop

Another technique that is useful is contour trenching. This involves the digging of 150m long, 1m deep trenches in the soil. The trenches are made parallel to the height lines of the landscape, preventing the water from flowing within the trenches and causing erosion. Stone walls are placed around the trenches to prevent the trenches from closing up again. The method was invented by Peter Westerveld. Enriching of the soil and restoration of its fertility is often done by plants. Of these, leguminous plants which extract nitrogen from the air and fix it in the soil, and food crops/trees as grains, barley, beans and dates are the most important. Sand fences can also be used to control drifting of soil and sand erosion. Some research centra (such as Bel-Air Research Center IRD/ISRA/UCAD) are also experimenting with the inoculation of tree species with mycorrhiza in arid zones. The mycorrhiza are basically fungi attaching themselves to the roots of the plants. They create a symbiotic relation with the trees, increasing the surface area of the tree’s roots greatly (allowing the tree to gather much more nutrients from the soil.

As there are many different types of deserts, there are also different methods to stop desertification. For instance the salt-flats in the Rub’ al Khali desert in Saudi-Arabia are one of the most promising desert areas for seawater agriculture and could be revitalized without the use of freshwater or much energy. Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is another technique that has produced successful results for desert reclamation. Since 1980, this method to reforest degraded landscape has been applied with some success in Niger. This simple and low-cost method has enabled farmers to regenerate some 30,000 square kilometers in Niger. The process involves enabling native sprouting tree growth through selective pruning of shrub shoots. The residue from pruned trees can be used to provide mulching for fields thus increasing soil water retention and reducing evaporation. Additionally, properly spaced and pruned trees can increase crop yields. The Humbo Assisted Regeneration Project which uses FMNR techniques in Ethiopia has received money from The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, which supports projects that sequester or conserve carbon in forests or agricultural ecosystems.

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Jacques Cousteau

The late great pioneering French naval oficer, explorer conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born 11 June 1910. He studied the sea and aquatic life And co-developed the Aqua-Lung. He was also a member of the Académie Français and studied at the Collège Stanislas in Paris. In 1930, he entered the École Navale and graduated as a gunnery officer. After a car accident cut short his career in naval aviation, Cousteau indulged his interest in the sea.In Toulon, where he was serving on the Condorcet, Cousteau carried out his first underwater experiments, thanks to his friend Philippe Tailliez who in 1936 lent him some Fernez underwater goggles. Cousteau also worked for the information service of the French Navy, and was sent on missions to Shanghai and Japan (1935–1938) and in the USSR in 1939.

After the armistice of 1940, his family took refuge in Megève, where he became a friend of the Ichac family who also lived there. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Marcel Ichac shared the same desire to reveal to the general public unknown and inaccessible places — for Cousteau the underwater world and for Ichac the high mountains. The to neighbors took the first ex-aequo prize of the Congress of Documentary Film in 1943, for the first French underwater film: Par dix-huit mètres de fond (18 meters deep), made without breathing apparatus the previous year in the Embiez islands with Philippe Tailliez and Frédéric Dumas, using a depth-pressure-proof camera case developed by mechanical engineer Léon Vèche (engineer of Arts and Métiers and the Naval College). In 1943, they made the film Épaves (Shipwrecks), in which they used two of the very first Aqua-Lung prototypes. These prototypes were made in Boulogne-Billancourt by the Air Liquide company, following instructions from Cousteau and Émile. Having kept bonds with the English speakers (he spent part of his childhood in the United States and usually spoke English) and with French soldiers in North Africa ( Jacques-Yves Cousteau , helped the French Navy to join again with the Allies and assembled a commando operation against the Italian espionage services in France, for which he received several military decorations for his deeds. At that time, he kept his distance from his brother Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, a “pen anti-semite” who wrote the collaborationist newspaper Je suis partout (I am everywhere) and who received the death sentence in 1946. However, this was later commuted to a life sentence, and Pierre-Antoine was released in 1954.

During the 1940s, Cousteau worked on the aqua-lung design the forerunner of open-circuit scuba technology used today. Cousteau started diving with Fernez goggles in 1936, and in 1939 used the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus invented in 1926 by Commander Yves le Prieur but dissatisfied with its performance so he improved it to extend underwater duration by adding a demand regulator, invented in 1942 by Émile Gagnan. In 1943 Cousteau tried out the first prototype aqua-lung which made extended underwater exploration possible. In 1946, Cousteau and Tailliez showed the film “Épaves”and set up the Groupement de Recherches Sous-marines (GRS) (Underwater Research Group) of the French Navy in Toulon. A little later it became the GERS (Groupe d’Études et de Recherches Sous-Marines, = Underwater Studies and Research Group), then the COMISMER (“COMmandement des Interventions Sous la MER”, = “Undersea Interventions Command”), and finally more recently the CEPHISMER. In 1947, Chief Petty Officer Maurice Fargues became the first diver to die using an aqualung while attempting a new depth record with the GERS near Toulon.

In 1948, between missions of mine clearance, underwater exploration and technological and physiological tests, Cousteau undertook a first campaign in the Mediterranean on board the sloop Élie Monnier, with Philippe Tailliez, Frédéric Dumas, Jean Alinat and the scenario writer Marcel Ichac. The small team also undertook the exploration of the Roman wreck of Mahdia (Tunisia). It was the first underwater archaeology operation using autonomous diving, opening the way for scientific underwater archaeology. Cousteau and Marcel Ichac brought back from there the Carnets diving film (presented and preceded with the Cannes Film Festival 1951).Cousteau and the Élie Monnier then took part in the rescue of Professor Jacques Piccard’s bathyscaphe, the FNRS-2, during the 1949 expedition to Dakar. Thanks to this rescue, the French Navy was able to reuse the sphere of the bathyscaphe to construct the FNRS-3.The adventures of this period are told in the two books The Silent World (1953, by Cousteau and Dumas) and Plongées sans câble(1954, by Philippe Tailliez)

.In 1949, Cousteau left the French Navy.In 1950, he founded the French Oceanographic Campaigns (FOC), and leased a ship called Calypso from Thomas Loel Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year. Cousteau refitted the Calypso as a mobile laboratory for field research and as his principal vessel for diving and filming. He also carried out underwater archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, in particular at Grand-Congloué (1952).With the publication of his first book in 1953, The Silent World, he correctly predicted the existence of the echolocation abilities ofporpoises. He reported that his research vessel, the Élie Monier, was heading to the Straits of Gibraltar and noticed a group of porpoises following them. Cousteau changed course a few degrees off the optimal course to the center of the strait, and the porpoises followed for a few minutes, then diverged toward mid-channel again. It was evident that they knew where the optimal course lay, even if the humans did not. Cousteau concluded that the cetaceans had something like sonar, which was a relatively new feature on submarines.

Cousteau won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 for The Silent World co-produced with Louis Malle. With the assistance of Jean Mollard, he made a “diving saucer” SP-350, an experimental underwater vehicle which could reach a depth of 350 meters. The successful experiment was quickly repeated in 1965 with two vehicles which reached 500 meters.In 1957, he was elected as director of the Oceanographical Museum of Monaco. He directed Précontinent, about the experiments of diving in saturation (long-duration immersion, houses under the sea), and was admitted to the United States National Academy of Sciences.He was involved in the creation of Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques and served as its inaugural president from 1959 to 1973. In October 1960, a large amount of radioactive waste was going to be discarded in the Mediterranean Sea by the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA). The CEA argued that the dumps were experimental in nature, and that French oceanographers such asVsevelod Romanovsky had recommended it. Romanovsky and other French scientists, including Louis Fage and Jacques Cousteau, repudiated the claim, saying that Romanovsky had in mind a much smaller amount. The CEA claimed that there was little circulation (and hence little need for concern) at the dump site between Nice and Corsica, but French public opinion sided with the oceanographers rather than with the CEA atomic energy scientists. The CEA chief, Francis Perrin, decided to postpone the dump. Cousteau organized a publicity campaign which in less than two weeks gained wide popular support. The train carrying the waste was stopped by women and children sitting on the railway tracks, and it was sent back to its origin.

A meeting with American television companies (ABC, Métromédia, NBC) created the series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, with the character of the commander in the red bonnet inherited from standard diving dress) intended to give the films a “personalized adventure” style. This documentary television series ran for ten years from 1966 to 1976. A second documentary series, The Cousteau Odyssey, ran from 1977 to 1982, among others.In 1970, he wrote the book The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea with Philippe, his son. In this book, Costeau described the oceanic whitetip shark as “the most dangerous of all sharks”.In 1973, along with his two sons and Frederick Hyman, he created the Cousteau Society for the Protection of Ocean Life, Frederick Hyman being its first President; it now has more than 300,000 members.On December 1975, two years after the volcano’s last eruption, The Cousteau Society was filming Voyage au bout du monde on Deception Island, Antarctica, when Michel Laval, Calypso’s second in command, was struck and killed by a propeller of the helicopter that was ferrying between Calypso and the island.

In1976, Cousteau uncovered the wreck of HMHS Britannic. He also found the wreck of the French 17th-century ship-of-the-line La Therese in coastal waters of Crete.In 1977, together with Peter Scott, he received the UN International Environment prize.On 28 June 1979, while the Calypso was on an expedition to Portugal, his second son, Philippe, his preferred and designated successor and with whom he had co-produced all his films since 1969, died in a PBY Catalina flying boat crash in the Tagus river near Lisbon. Cousteau was deeply affected. He called his then eldest son, the architect Jean-Michel Cousteau, to his side. This collaboration lasted 14 years.In 1975 John Denver released the tribute song “Calypso” on his album “Windsong”, and on the B-side of his hit song “I’m Sorry”. “Calypso” became a hit on its own and was later considered the new A-side, reaching #2 on the charts.

From 1980 to 1981, he was a regular on the animal reality show Those Amazing Animals, along with Burgess Meredith, Priscilla Presley, and Jim Stafford. In 1980, Cousteau traveled to Canada to make two films on the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, Cries from the Deep and St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea. In 1985, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan.On 24 November 1988, he was elected to the Académie française, chair 17, succeeding Jean Delay. His official reception under the Cupola took place on 22 June 1989, the response to his speech of reception being given by Bertrand Poirot-Delpech. After his death, he was replaced under the Cupola by Érik Orsenna on 28 May 1998.In June 1990, the composer Jean Michel Jarre paid homage to the commander by entitling his new album Waiting for Cousteau. He also composed the music for Cousteau’s documentary “Palawan, the last refuge” .

On 2 December 1990, his wife Simone Cousteau died of cancer .In June 1991, Jacques-Yves Cousteau remarried, to Francine Triplet, with whom he had (before this marriage) two children, Diane and Pierre-Yves. Francine Cousteau currently continues her husband’s work as the head of the Cousteau Foundation and Cousteau Society. From that point, the relations between Jacques-Yves and his elder son worsened. In November 1991, Cousteau gave an interview to the UNESCO Courier, in which he stated that he was in favour of human population control and population decrease and in 1992, he was invited to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations’ International Conference on Environment and Development, and then he became a regular consultant for the UN and the World Bank. In 1996, he sued his son who wished to open a holiday centre named “Cousteau” in the Fiji Islands. On 11 January 1996, Calypso was rammed and sunk in Singapore Harbour by a barge. The Calypso was refloated and towed home to France. Jacques-Yves Cousteau sadly passed away after a heart attack on 25 June 1997 in Paris, aged 87, and was buried in a Roman Catholic Christian funeral in the family vault at Saint-André-de-f in France. A street was renamed “rue du Commandant Cousteau”, in his honour and a commemorative plaque was affixed to his house.

World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day takes place annually every 8 June. The purpose of World Oceans Day is to educate people concerning the importance of the worlds Oceans which provide us with many resources and services including oxygen, climate regulation, food sources, medicine, and more. World Oceans Day also provides an opportunity for people to take personal and community action to conserve the ocean and its resources.

World Ocean Day has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Brundtland Commission, i.e. the World Commission on Environment and Development, provided the inspiration for a global oceans day. The 1987 Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies world wide. www.WorldOceansDay.org was launched, in 2008 to help promote the event and generate more involvement through dissemination of resources, ideas, and tools free for everyone to use to celebrate World .

The Ocean Project, working in partnership with leading organizations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and together with World Ocean Network led a three-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. to officially recognize 8 June as World Oceans Day. The UN General Assembly passed resolution in December 2008 officially recognizing the Day) World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in  2008.

World Oceans Day events are celebrated on 8 June, the closest weekend, the week, and the month of June. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015, including the development in 2016 of a World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council.

The conservation action theme for World Oceans Day 2018 will be “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean”. The Ocean Project continues to expand the youth-focus of World Oceans Day by further expanding the Youth Advisory Council with the addition of 10 new members. The young minds help to shape and improve World Oceans Day as it grows through the years, providing new perspectives, ideas, and recommendations. Together with the Youth Advisory Council, The Ocean Project and its growing network of partners in 120 countries help rally the world each June and expand ocean conservation year-round.

Past themes for World Oceans Day have included “Our Oceans, Our Future” in 2017.  This focused on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter. For World Oceans Day 2017, more than 1,000 events were held in 118 countries, including the first United Nations Ocean Conference held in New York City during the week of World Oceans Day. Social media reach for Twitter and Facebook, alone, included nearly 2.8 billion impressions for #WorldOceansDay.

In 2016 the theme for World Oceans Day was “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” In 2016 The event was celebrated in over 100 countries with over 700 registered events. World Oceans Day trended second on Twitter. Instagram posts about World Oceans Day reached over 290 million people, and over 65 million people were reached on Twitter. Celebrities like Richard Branson, Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Adrian Grenier, Nelson Mandela and more shared photos and tweeted their support for our oceans. Notable organizations such as the United Nations, CNN, National Geographic, LIFE, the White House and more joined in spreading messages of ocean conservation.

In the coordination of World Oceans Day 2016, a strong focus was placed on youth engagement by The Ocean Project Who recognized the impact youth can have in ocean conservation, and provided youth with the resources and networks needed to have their voices heard. For World Oceans Day 2016, the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council was established. There are 11 members on the council all coming from different countries around the world. The new advisory council will help expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on 8 June, and year-round. The Ocean Project also teamed up with Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and The Big Blue and You to create Sea Youth Rise Up, which brought seven youth ocean conservation leaders to NYC and Washington DC. The youth spoke about pressing ocean issues and solutions in a live google hangout at the New York Aquarium. A meeting was held in Washington DC to meet President Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality. Following the meeting the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, was formed becoming the United State’s first marine protected area in the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2015 the theme was “Healthy oceans, healthy planet” in the first year of a two-year theme for World Ocean Day Nearly 1,000 events were held at aquariums, zoos, museums, recreational centers, youth clubs, schools, businesses, and countless individuals marked the day by doing something to keep our ocean healthy. Thousands took The Better Bag Challenge for World Oceans Day – promising to use reusable bags rather than disposable plastic bags for a year to help address the problem of marine debris. Action online increased significantly around World Oceans Day 2015. Millions were able to learn about the Day and ways to help through social media,

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO organized a full day dedicated to the critical role of the ocean for a healthy climate. The program brought together scientists, political decision-makers, civil society, and youth to develop strategies to reduce climate pollution.

The UNEP report on microplastics in cosmetics was released. The study, entitled Plastic in Cosmetics: Are We Polluting the Environment Through our Personal Care: Plastic ingredients that contribute to marine microplastic litter is a compilation of currently available knowledge on the linkages between cosmetics and plastic pollution in the oceans.

The Economist in Lisbon, Portugal held its third World Ocean Summit just prior to World Oceans Day with the aim to set a new global agenda for the ocean economy. The Summit convened more than 250 leaders from various sectors and ignited a constructive dialogue on developing a blue economy in which economic opportunity is balanced by responsible investment in sustainability.

The US Department of State, Organised the annual Fishackathon event  to make fishing more sustainable through a weekend of connection and coding. Coders volunteered their talents at institutions including aquariums and universities to develop new tools that help fishers work smarter, more safely, and more sustainably.

Jack Johnson celebrated with 5 Gyres and youth in the Bahamas, SpongeBob SquarePants went on a tour to zoos and aquariums across the US, Jeff Corwin and Jack Hanna made a splash on TV through a World Oceans Day campaign with Litton Entertainment, and the Octonauts were in many locations and highlighted in numerous publications around the planet to celebrate World Oceans Day.

The theme for World Oceans Day 2014 and 2013 was “Together we have the power to protect the ocean”. This focused on raising awareness and promoting personal and community action in fun and positive ways, leading to a more aware, engaged, and sustainable society, and a healthier ocean. More than 700 events took place. The theme. The theme for The World Oceans Day 2012  and 2011 was “Youth: the Next Wave for Change”. In 2012 The Ocean Project launched a completely revamped site for World Oceans Day and There were over 500 events in 55 countries.

The 2010 theme for World Oceans Day was “Oceans of Life: Pick your favorite * Protect your favorite.” It partnered with Dr. Seuss and the Census of Marine Life. In 2010 The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network recorded over 300 events, a 26% increase over 2009. Participation in the United States increased by 32% (with participation in 37 states, as compared to 25 states the previous year). 45 countries participated in World Oceans Day 2010, including Bangladesh, Belgium, French Polynesia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malta, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Portugal.

World Ocenas day was first officially recognized by the United Nations in 2009 and there were over 200 events worldwide. The (then) Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon gave the following message:

The first observance of World Oceans Day allows us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.

Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas. Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.

Oceans are also affected by criminal activity. Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods. Smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of persons by sea are further examples of how criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans.

Several international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations address these numerous challenges. At their centre lies the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and is the basis for international cooperation at all levels. In addition to aiming at universal participation, the world must do more to implement this Convention and to uphold the rule of law on the seas and oceans.

The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.

 

 

World Emvironment

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 on the day that United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. Many events take place worldwide during World Environment Day, in order to increase people’s awareness of how they can protect nature and the environment.

In Nepal Community Radio Stations (CRS) and the National TV & Radio were replaced by Environment Slogans and various programs on World Environment Day in collaboration with UNESCO. The Gurkha Army was also sent to clean the environment. Zee News launched ‘My Earth, My Duty’ campaign, which entered the Limca Book of Records for a novel effort: for planting more than 7,300,000 trees in one single day across 34 cities and 250,000 villages on 25 August 2010. NDTV launched “Greenathon” Campaign, which was India’s first ever-nationwide campaign to save the environment. Student also attended reforestation programmes with the supervision of SOS Villages and Nepal Government. Many Arts and drawing competitions are held on environmental day and Nepal Government declares the Scholorship for 15 Students from every cities who have made a major contribution to the environment. In 2012, Project Earth, an Online Eco Platform teamed up with Rio+20 and Launched ‘ World Environment Day Global School Contest 2012 ‘ to promote awareness among today’s youth. Every country had a winner. Project GreenOman,The winner from Oman, was an Eco organization founded by Hridith Sudev and is a full-fledged kid’s Eco Organization now.Eco Action Day is also celebrated in Singapore to inspire individuals to reduce energy use at the workplace. poet/diplomat Abhay K also composed the World Environment Day “Earth Anthem” in 2013 to celebrate World Environment Day.

Each year World Environment Day has a different theme and the theme for 2015 is Sustainable Consumption and Production. The theme for 2014 was Small Islands and Climate Change while the theme for 2013 was Think.Eat.Save, which addressed the huge annual wastage and loss of food, which, if conserved, would release a large quantity of food as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint a and to enable people to make informed choices about the food they eat to reduce their ecological impact. The theme for the 2012 World Environment Day was Green Economy: Does it include you. This invited people to examine their activities and lifestyle and see how the concept of a “Green Economy” fits into it. While The theme for 2011 was Forests-Nature At Your Service which included beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. The theme for 2010 was ‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future’, this celebrated the diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity and was hosted in Rwanda. The theme for 2009 was ‘Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change’, and Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ was declared ‘World Environment Day Song’. It was hosted in Mexico.

The theme of 2008 was CO2-Kick the Habit /towards a Low Carbon Economy, and was hosted inNew Zealand, which was one of the first countries to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality, the event focussed on forest management as a tool for reducing greenhouse gases.Volunteers also handed out eco-friendly light-bulbs and eco-friendly shopping bags and stickers with the slogan I’m reducing my carbon footprint! The Chicago Botanic Garden served as the North American host for World Environment Day on 5 June 2008. Environmental causes have also featured in online games, and a free online game called Carbon Chomper was created for WED 2008. Similar environmental issue related and conservation themed games can be found at cleanuptheworld.org and gamesforchange.org

World Environment Day 2007 was held in the city of Tromsø, Norway, “The Gateway to the Arctic” and the topic was “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?” This focussed on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, on other ice- and snow-covered areas of the world, and the resulting global impacts. It suggested methods of sustainable and equitable development and siggested that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues and advocated ways to ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. The topic for WOrld Environment Day 2006 was held in Algeria and the theme was Deserts and Desertification. This emphasised the importance of protecting drylands, which cover more than 40% of the planet’s surface. This ecosystem is home to one-third of the world’s people who are more vulnerable members of society. The theme for 2005 World Environment Day was Green Cities, and advocated ways to achieve a sustainable Urban Future which does not damage the environment.

World Milk Day

World Milk Day is a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognise the importance of milk as a global food and focus attention on milk and to publicise activities connected with milk and the dairy industry and provide an opportunity to educate the public concerning activities that are connected with the dairy sector.

Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals (including humans who are breastfed) before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother’s antibodies to its young and can reduce the risk of many diseases. It contains many other nutrient including protein and lactose. Interspecies consumption of milk is not uncommon, particularly among humans, many of whom consume the milk of other mammals.

As an agricultural product, milk is extracted from non-human mammals during or soon after pregnancy. Dairy farms produced about 730 million tonnes of milk in 2011,from 260 million dairy coWs. India is the world’s largest producer of milk, and is the leading exporter of skimmed milk powder, yet it exports few other milk products. The ever increasing rise in domestic demand for dairy products and a large demand-supply gap could lead to India being a net importer of dairy products in the future. The United States, India, China and Brazil are the world’s largest exporters of milk and milk products. China and Russia were the world’s largest importers of milk and milk products until 2016 when both countries became self-sufficient. Throughout the world, more than six billion people consume milk and milk products. Over 750 million people live in dairy farming households

World milk Day has been observed annually on June 1 each year since 2001. The day is intended to World Milk Day was first designated by the FAO in 2001. June 1 was chosen as the date because many countries were already celebrating a milk day during that time of year. The fact that many countries choose to do this on the same day lends additional importance to individual national celebrations and shows that milk is a global food.

In 2016, World Milk Day was celebrated in over 40 countries. Activities included marathons and family runs, milking demonstrations and farm visits, school-based activities, concerts, conferences and seminars, competitions and a range of events focusing on promoting the value of milk and illustrating the important role played by the dairy industry in the national economy. On June 1, 2018 and 2019 a special campaign will be carried out by the Global Dairy Platform called “Raise a Glass” under the campaign hashtag: #WorldMilkDay.

World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day takes place annually on 23 May. Tortoises and Turtles comprise some of the most amazing and endangered reptiles on the planet, so World Turtle Day was set up to increase respect and knowledge of Turtles and Tortoises and to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. Turtle Day Is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue, and celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, and research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.

Turtles are diapsids of the order Testudines (or Chelonii) characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs and acting as a shield. “Turtle” may refer to the order as a whole (American English) or to fresh-water and sea-dwelling testudines (British English). The order Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known members of this group date from 220 million years ago,  making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than snakes or crocodilians. Of the 356 known species alive today, some are highly endangered.

 

Tortoises also belong to the family Testudinidae under the order Testudines and suborder Cryptodira. There are fourteen extant families of the order Testudines, an order of reptile commonly known as turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. The suborder Cryptodira (Greek: hidden neck) is a suborder of Testudines that includes most living tortoises and turtles. Cryptodira differ from Pluerodia (side-neck turtles) in that they lower their necks and pull the heads straight back into the shells, instead of folding their necks sideways along the body under the shells’ marginals.The testudines are some of the most ancient reptiles alive. Tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The carapace is fused to both the vertebrae and ribcage, and tortoises are unique among vertebrates in that the pectoral and pelvic girdles are inside the ribcage rather than outside. Tortoises can vary in size from a few centimeters to two meters. They are usually diurnal animals with tendencies to be crepuscular depending on the ambient temperatures. They are generally reclusive animals. Tortoises are the longest living land animal in the world, although the longest living species of tortoise is a matter of debate. Galápagos tortoises are noted to live over 150 years, but an Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita may have been the longest living at an estimated 255 years. In general, most tortoise species can live 80-150 years.

Both Turtles and tortoises are ectotherms—animals commonly called cold-blooded—meaning that their internal temperature varies according to the ambient environment. However, because of their high metabolic rate, leatherback sea turtles have a body temperature that is noticeably higher than that of the surrounding water. Turtles are classified as amniotes, along with other reptiles, birds, and mammals. Like other amniotes, turtles breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The study of turtles is called cheloniology, after the Greek word for turtle. It is also sometimes called testudinology, after the Latin name for turtles.

American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) was founded in 1990, by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, and is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, including Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health, which remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives. The American Tortoise Rescue also advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles.

The day is featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, and was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles. Armed with knowledge and passion for these gentle animals, we can come together to preserve Turtle and Tortoise species throughout the world.

International Day for Biological Diversity

The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) takes place annually on May 22. It is a United Nations–sanctioned international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. Created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1993 until 2000, it was held on December 29 to celebrate the day the Convention on Biological Diversity went into effect.

Biodiversity, is a portmanteau of “biological diversity,” and generally refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, biodiversity typically measures variation at the genetic, the species, and the ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be greater near the equator, which seems to be the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Biodiversity is not distributed evenly on Earth, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 per cent of earth’s surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world’s species. Marine biodiversity tends to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time,but may slow in the future.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. More than 99.9 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described. More recently, in May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.The total amount of related DNA base pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes. In comparison, the total mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion tons of carbon). In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.

The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago, during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. There are microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia. Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old meta-sedimentary rocks discovered in Western Greenland. More recently, in 2015, “remains of biotic life” were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia. Many researchers postulate that, “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth .. then it could be common in the universe.”

Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which the majority of multicellular phyla first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively. The United Nations designated 2011–2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

The date of International Biodiversity Dat was shifted to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on May 22, 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, partly to avoid the many other holidays that occur in late December. Areas of Biodiversity promoted so far include Water and Biodiversity, Marine Biodiversity, Forest Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation, Invasive Alien Species, Biodiversity and Agriculture, Biodiversity and Climate Change, ways to protect Biodiversity in Drylands, Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World, how Biodiversity affects Food, Water and Health for All, how biodiversity can help with poverty alleviation sustainable development and forest biodiversity