2002: Rusudan Lomidze









World Environment Day - 5 June 2002

Message from the UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer

Give Earth a Chance

World Environment Day is an occasion to pause and reflect on the state of the environment. This year’s theme, “ Give Earth a Chance”, urges us to look at our daily impact on the planet and its peoples, and to take action to improve our environmental behaviour.   We have been taking huge steps forward to “globalize”. Globalization has opened up the world, and benefited the world, or at least one half of the world. The other half still live on less than two dollars a day, and will probably never enjoy a glass of clean water. We have to find a way to make globalization work for everyone, and not just a few.  On this planet we call Earth, someone living in an industrialized country probably consumes twice as much grain, three times as much meat, and eleven times as much gasoline as a person living in a developing country.

We need to stop and ask ourselves: WHY? Globalization is part of the answer. For many the “culture” of globalization revolves around the belief, that economic growth and natural resources are limitless. It also believes that science and technology, can fix all problems, including those related to the environment. Little thought is given as to when the problems will be fixed, or the cost of fixing them. And what will be the costs of not fixing the problems?

Development has been divorced from its human and cultural context. It is growth without a soul. Such values are unsustainable. The poor will get poorer, and the earth will get poorer too. Neither will have a real chance or hope for improvement. A different approach is required.  The globalization process must also focus on human, cultural, and spiritual dimensions, and on the interdependence of humankind, and its diversity. We have to redevelop an ecological, holistic world view, and connect, once again, with the rest of nature.

We often look to the future for solutions. However, I think that now, there is a need to search our past, and learn from our ancestors. Mountains have, since time began, inspired mankind, and nurtured solid cultural and spiritual values. Values, which should be fostered for the good of all, and the preservation of biodiversity. On World Environment Day in 2002, the International Year of the Mountains, I urge you to take action to safeguard our mountains.

Environmental conservation is often found in ancient cultures around the world. Many indigenous peoples’ value and belief systems have evolved to respect nature, and live in harmony with it. Land and people are one. Earth, as a spiritual mother, provides life and sustenance, as well as cultural and spiritual identity.

We urgently need environmental ethics for the twenty-first century, based on equity, fairness and respect for nature. These values can be drawn from ancient cultures, indigenous beliefs and all world religions.  In 2002, the International Year of Eco-tourism, the tourist industry and all stakeholders will be working to balance the demands of the tourists, and seek to care for the environment. For some communities and regions, sustainable tourism can be a first step towards sustainable development.  On this World Environment Day let us all begin to act for the environment and work together to give the Earth a chance. An unpolluted pristine environment is vital to our survival, a precious resource, which will only endure if we Give Earth a Chance.

NOTE: The year 2002 marks the 30th Anniversary of UNEP and is also being celebrated as the International Year of Mountains and the International Year of Ecotourism.

For more information please contact the Georgian Environment & Health Network Team at:

WomenAid International-Caucasus

17 Khvichia Street, Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel/Fax: (995 32) 37 92 70  or

E-mail: waigeo@access.sanet.ge

Georgian World Environment Day Annual Lecture: Press Release

Message from the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan: English, Russian

Caucasus 16 Days ~ WomenAid Anti-Trafficking Campaign

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