PHOTOS: Celebrate World Environment Day

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World Environment Day is June 5, and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has selected Brazil as the official host city for the event. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the UNEP and World Environment Day (WED), and millions of Earth-lovers from around the globe will gather to commemorate the occasion. From tree-plantings to alternative energy expos, see how the world is celebrating the “Other Earth Day.”

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The traditional WED "Green Passport Launch" took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 2. Photo: United Nations Environmental Programme

Brazil has been selected as the official host for this year’s WED celebrations. The South American nation had previously hosted WED in 1992, on the eve of the first Earth Summit – when world leaders, government officials and international organizations met to discuss sustainable development. Beginning June 20, another UN environmental summit, dubbed Rio+20, will be held in Brazil to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 conference.

As the host country, Brazil will be the “place to be” on WED – with hundreds of local and regional events in the works. Events include school and town parades, an educational festival about preventing forest fires in the Amazon and cleanups on the White Water River – not to mention a celebration at the Presidential Palace.

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Last year, the UNEP team in Nigeria joined with pupils from eight Ogoniland schools to plant 800 trees for WED. Photo: United Nations Environmental Programme

Last year, hundreds of locals and school children gathered for tree-planting ceremonies throughout West Africa, and this year will be no different – with scores of tree-plantings planned across the region.

The theme for this year’s WED festivities is “Green Economy: Does It Include You?” And greenies across the globe will meet at events to discuss the topic, including a symposium in Onitsha, Nigeria.

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Last year, children from the civil society group "Health Society" learn about local trees at a WED event in West Bengal, India. Photo: United Nations Environmental Programme

India has a history of enthusiastic participation in WED celebrations, and this year will be no exception. Hundreds of local and regional festivities are in the works across India – from small gatherings like school nature walks, tree-plantings and educational events to large community celebrations like town parades and festivals, discussion panels and even street plays promoting reusable bags.

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Louis Palmer, UNEP Champion of the Earth and solar advocate, standing with children around a locally engineered solar-powered car at the EPIC Dubai Sustainable Living Expo on WED last year. Photo: United Nations Environmental Programme

How will you celebrate World Environment Day? Check out this interactive activity map from UNEP to track down an event near you. Or if you already have WED plans, you can also register your activity to draw participation from local Earth-lovers.

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