June 5 each year marks the annual UN World Environment Day, a global day of action established by the United Nations. In conversation with environmental engineer Jörg Trübl, member of the Board of Directors of MABEWO AG in Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland.
The annual celebration has its origins in the United Nations Stockholm Conference on the Protection of the Environment, held in Stockholm on June 5, 1972. This was also the opening day of the first UN World Environment Summit. The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection and to promote sustainable development worldwide. Since 1974, the motto has changed on this day of action and since 1987, there has been a country or city that hosts the main UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) event on World Environment Day.
In 2023, the theme of World Environment Day will be „Solution to plastic pollution“, hosted by the Netherlands. Launched 51 years ago, World Environment Day is now recognized in 150 countries . In Switzerland, the ADFC’s Cycling Star Ride is held annually on the first Sunday of June to mark the day of action. „This day is meant to encourage and show that everyone can make a contribution to protecting the environment on a local, national or global level,“ explains Jörg Trübl, environmental engineer and member of the board of directors at MABEWO AG. The Swiss MABEWO group of companies focuses on technologies for the construction of indoor farming facilities for food, feed and phytopharmaceuticals. It also contributes to the implementation of the energy transition with the expansion and use of renewable energies.
To create a sustainable environment, we must work for a sustainable economy that uses resources sustainably, protects our ecosystems and minimizes waste production.
Five decades of environmental protection – a long way
In the 1970s, the published study „The Limits to Growth,“ a report for the Club of Rome on the state of humanity, provided an impetus to examine human activity and the implications for our planet. „This decade was marked by significant events that had a lasting impact on the world, such as the most serious chemical accident in the history of Seveso in Italy to date, or the oil crisis that led to the introduction of the first ‚Car Free Day‘,“ explains Jörg Trübl. The focus of World Environment Day is to promote awareness, sensitization and responsibility towards the environment. Jörg Trübl adds that the goal is to encourage people to change their habits and behaviors and make more sustainable choices. The first World Climate Conference met in Geneva on February 12, 1979, with representatives from 113 countries adopting a declaration of 26 principles for environment and development.
In the 1980s, environmental issues move further into focus: forest dieback, acid rain, Chernobyl as a super-GAU disaster of nuclear energy and forest clearing led to occupations and anti-nuclear politics. The 1990s stand for the UN Summit for Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, waste avoidance and waste separation, jute instead of plastic, organic stores and energy-saving lamps. Jörg Trübl recalls that since 1990 the first Austrian Eco-label has been awarded to products, tourism businesses and educational institutions to demonstrate environmentally friendly product alternatives.
Climate has been increasingly in the global spotlight since the 2000s. In 2007, the world was given comprehensive insights into climate change through the publications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). „Hollywood was not alone in taking up the topic in the film „An Inconvenient Truth“, which won it two Oscars, but the business world is discovering environmental technology as an industry of the future.
The decade of 2010 began right at the start with the tsunami disaster in the Pacific Ocean and the meltdown disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. This caused unimaginable suffering and hardship worldwide with great horror and shock. In addition, the consequences of human consumerism were brought to light with the building collapse of Rana Plaza, the textile factory in Bangladesh. „This decade also saw the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, in 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement,“ Jörg Trübl reminds us, adding that global challenges are not yet over and entail enormous responsibility.
Cooperation on a global level
World Environment Day is an opportunity for governments, organizations, companies and individuals around the world to work together and take joint action to promote environmental protection. Jörg Trübl points to the positive developments of the 2014 World Environment Day in the host country Barbados with the slogan „Raise your Voice, Not the Sea Level!“. On the one hand, island states are responsible for only one percent of CO2 emissions worldwide, but at the same time are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change. Raising awareness of the 2014 motto led to the successful implementation of model projects such as thermal solar systems and photovoltaic systems in Barbados. Globally, numerous activities and events take place on World Environment Day to further raise public awareness on environmental protection. From local community actions and social media campaigns to international summits, there are many ways to get involved in World Environment Day. Many organizations and companies use this day to draw attention to their work and projects and to raise funds for environmental protection.
World Environment Day 2023: Economic and business models against the causes of plastic pollution
Reducing the ecological footprint globally means making more environmentally friendly choices. These include buying organic products, avoiding plastic waste and using renewable energy resources. Jörg Trübl points out that making conscious choices in favor of a more sustainable world will have a positive long-term impact on the environment and the well-being of all people. In particular, Environment Day 2023 aims to raise awareness of the causes of plastic pollution globally. Both the reduction of problematic and unnecessary plastic consumption to a market shift towards a circular economy are in focus. „Important changes concern reuse, recycling, reorientation with diversification, measures of the legacy of plastic pollution and the acceleration of the transformation,“ explains environmental engineer Trübl.
Sustainable economy as the key
World Environment Day is not the only day of the year to dedicate to protecting the environment. Everyone can be active in their everyday lives, both professionally and personally, to help protect the environment. „To create a sustainable environment, we need to work for a sustainable economy that uses resources sustainably, protects our ecosystems and minimizes waste production,“ says Jörg Trübl. This is what the MABEWO group of companies is working on.
Today, 150 countries already agree with World Environment Day. Together, we will continue to use this global day of action to draw further attention to the importance of environmental protection and to support the promotion of sustainable developments worldwide. Jörg Trübl emphasizes that a conscious commitment to a more sustainable world has a positive long-term impact on the environment and the well-being of all people.
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Represented by Mr. Jörg Trübl
MABEWO AG stands for sustainability. „Make a better world“ invests in the future and develops innovative technologies to solve the biggest challenges of our time: Climate protection, energy transition, resource conservation and food supply. Mr. Jörg Trübl is a trained environmental engineer and has 20 years of practical economic experience in business management as a consultant, coach and CEO of SMEs in Europe. Further information at: https://www.mabewo.com/
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Questions and answers:
What is the aim of World Environment Day?
World Environment Day was created by the United Nations to raise awareness for the importance of protecting the environment and to promote sustainable development worldwide. The goal of the day of action is to encourage people to change their habits and behaviors and make more sustainable choices. World Environment Day provides an opportunity for governments, organizations, businesses and individuals around the world to work together and take action to promote environmental protection.
What is the theme of World Environment Day in 2023?
The theme of World Environment Day in 2023 is ‚Solutions to plastic pollution‘ with the host country the Netherlands. In addition to the international or global focus, numerous, national actions take place in UN member states, some with their own theme. World Environment Day emphasizes the importance of ecosystems and biodiversity for human life and calls on people to take concrete action to protect and preserve them.
What are concrete measures that can be taken to promote environmental protection?
Concrete measures to promote environmental protection include buying ecological products, avoiding plastic waste and using renewable energy resources. It is also important to reduce one’s ecological footprint by making greener choices. Governments, businesses and individuals must work together and take concrete action to promote sustainable development and protect the environment.