Is it Really June 6?

Is it really June 6, 2012?  Doesn’t that make it World Environment Day 2012?  It is?  OK… Because I have hardly heard a whisper about it all day today.  I have heard a lot of politicians blustering and guffawing in the House of Representatives over the Budget; the trade winds have continued to trouble us on a fiercely hot June day; there have been the usual compromises and concessions and  in the city of Kingston, Jamaica.

But World Environment Day?  Not a word.  Does it now take second place to Earth Day?  At least in Jamaica, it seems so.

World Environment Day 2012 logo

World Environment Day 2012 logo

The theme for 2012 is: Green Economy: Does It Include YOU?”  Well, if asked this question, most Jamaican men and women would scratch their heads, frown slightly and shake their heads.  And these days, it seems to me, the word economy is more often on the lips of many than the word green.  Apart from our own stifling debt crisis, there is Spain, which can’t afford to bail out its own banks; Greece, which is stumbling along towards a re-run of its election on June 17; the British Prime Minister flitting about Europe like a slightly agitated migrating bird, urging “immediate” action on the Eurozone debt crisis; and President Barack Obama, now in the throes of a full-blown election campaign, turning a little more grey and holding conference calls with European leaders.  Even Facebook‘s IPO was something of a flop, and it appears marred by technical errors.

And back in Jamaica, people get more excited about the green in the flag (or lack of it) than they do about the “greening” of our increasingly deforested, polluted, mined-out, over-developed, garbage-filled island.

But hey… It is slightly cooler now after 9:00 p.m.; I can hear music playing faintly and pleasantly outside – sounds like an old ska tune; the dogs are quietly snoozing; the Petcharys are enjoying the welcome, late-season bounty of our Bombay mango tree; and I am looking forward to high tea with a friend at the wonderful Terra Nova Hotel tomorrow.  Things could be worse.  The economic (and green) crisis might never happen.

And tomorrow is another day.  June 7.  When we may say to each other, “Oh yes, it was World Environment Day yesterday, wasn’t it?”

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28 Comments

  1. Dear Petchary,
    It was such a quiet day that you actually missed it – World Environment Day was actuallyTuesday, 5th June. There was apparently an environmental exhibition and concert in Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios courtesy NEPA and others. Earth Day was recognised by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica – and that was a big event and World Biodiversity Day included a big activity at the NEPA office but apparently (so I heard) there were no funds available for more activities for World Environment Day – usually a whole week of activities – National Environmental Awareness Week.

    JCDT/Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park posted that as part of its “celebration” it would be having a mini-exhibit at Sanaa Studio on the 2nd and AZMART on the 9th. However as also posted on the 6th featuring a photo album of staff in the field – World Environment Day is every day for the organisation and (as supported by a comment from Wendy Ann Lee) – this is so for most NGOs. In fact the work goes on (sometimes just barely) with great frustration due to inadequate support of any kind. JCDT tries to host Green Expo every other year to showcase green solutions but this continues to be increasingly difficult to find sponsorship for, so I don’t know if it will be held next year which would result in more attention to the Day then.

    To me what is most discouraging is not the quiet on World Environment Day itself – but the quiet on most of the other 364 days of the year. On second thought, I wouldnt mind if no-one said a word – if only there was some real positive action particularly the funding of conservation and enforcement of environmental and related legislation.

    • OH NO Susan – how could I not have realized this? I must have been confused. I will have to do a correction!! Apologies. Of course, National Environment WEEK – I remember hearing all about activities for this in past years, from NEPA. I know there are a few days and a “special day” isn’t everything, it’s more of a reminder to people. But as you say, every day is World Environment Day for NGOs and so it should be for Jamaica on the whole. And as you say, ACTION (something we seem to struggle with, actually doing something!) is most important of all… Thanks so much for your comments, which I will share on my blog… I appreciate it. It is all very discouraging though… As another commenter notes! All the best and I welcome your comments on other environmental issues that I have discussed (and will continue to address) in this blog.

  2. I didn’t even know there’s such a thing as World Environment Day. In my country, that would hardly be felt for there will always be bigger problems like poverty and political disputes that should be settled first. But from the town I am living, we had already banned the use of plastics in grocery stores and other markets. I guess we are just taking things one step at a time.

    • Yes, it’s a UN-designated day every year. Where do you live? We also have huge poverty and political issues too, but poverty is one of the major causes of our environmental damage I am afraid. It’s good that your town has already taken some good steps. As we are an island, climate change is having quite an impact on our environment too, as well as poor development. Sigh. One step at a time is good, but we need to speed up our steps here!

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