June 5th 2017
The theme of this year's World Environment Day is ‘Connecting People to Nature’ and the Minister for Environment Denis Naughten is encouraging people to get outdoors and embrace nature today. Minister Naughten is also launching a campaign called 'Stop & Stroll' targeted at school children who are driven to school.
"Ireland's beauty is renowned the world over. Our walkways and cycleways; mountains and parks; rivers and forests are admired and cherished. Today is a day for all of us to embrace the theme of World Environment Day and connect with the nature around us, and to explore and enjoy it on World Environment Day."
"In light of the United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement it is critical that our individual and collective efforts to protect the earth we share are intensified. Let's start today on World Environment Day to make a bigger effort to experience and cherish our natural beauty and remember its importance in our lives. Our environment is complex and fragile. It is also a sustainable resource for the future of humanity. A sustainable environment requires mindful cooperation with natural rhythms, not self-destructive mastery. Every one of us, in every community across the country, in every country across the world has a role to play. No one can be done without."
"The energy and activities that today brings must not stop tomorrow. I am launching "Stop & Stroll which is a campaign to encourage school children and their parents who travel to school by car to 'walk the last 1300 steps [or 1km] of their journey'. If every primary school child in Ireland who travels to school by car was to walk the last 1km, or 1300 steps, it would save in the region of 113 tonnes of C02 going into the atmosphere each day. By simply stopping the car and strolling the last 1km childhood obesity and inactivity is tackled and gas emissions and fuel consumption significantly reduced. It's a win-win for the environment and air quality and the health and well-being of our children and ourselves," added Naughten.
Since the very first World Environment Day in 1972 people across the globe have organised hundred of thousands of events each year on June 5th from community clean-ups and action against wildlife crime, to forest replanting and environmental exhibitions.
"It is a day to celebrate, individually or collectively, here in Ireland, so I encourage you to get out in the open air to connect with and cherish our beautiful natural environment today," concluded Minister Naughten.