Eastern Visayas joins the rest of the world in observing World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, with a call to take climate actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marked with the global theme “It’s time for Nature”, this year’s celebration highlights how nature delivers vital services to humanity and the urgent need to halt its destruction. It also underscores biodiversity as the foundation that supports all life on earth.

“Biodiversity affects our human health, providing us food, clean water, air, and a liveable place. Sadly, despite all the benefits nature brings us, people still abuse and mistreat it,” DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian said.

“Human actions such as deforestation, and encroachment of wildlife habitat upsets the balance of nature creating conditions for illnesses and viruses to spread. Taking lessons from the corona virus pandemic, we can say that harming nature and biodiversity brings forth negative consequences”, Director Parian added.

The United Nations (UN), an organization leading the WED celebration, is taking WED 2020 as a call for individuals and sectors to build back better for the people and the planet and to take notice of the message sent by nature to humankind during this exceptional time of COVID-19 pandemic – ‘to take care of ourselves, we must care for nature’.

World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974 it has been celebrated every year on June 5 engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

Meanwhile, the month of June is celebrated as the Philippine Environment Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 237 signed by President Corazon Aquino on April 4, 1988 to give time and effort towards the protection, enhancement and development of the country’s environment. This year, it is observed with the theme “Protect Nature, sustain our future”.

Following government’s protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, DENR Region VIII is launching an online photo story contest and a digital poster making contest to mark the celebrations. This activity encourages participants to share their ‘time for nature’ during the quarantine period for COVID-19 and their ideas on protecting nature for a sustainable future. Mechanics for joining the contest are posted at DENR VIII’s official Facebook page ‘DENR Eastern Visayas’.