TODAY, June 5, is World Environment Day. This event was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. It was also on this date that the UNGA, through a resolution, created the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the principal body of the UN in the field of environment. In the Philippines, the whole month of June is observed as environment month by virtue of proclamation No. 237 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino in 1988.

This is the first time that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will celebrate this big environmental event online due to physical distancing protocols. Mass gatherings of more than ten people are still not allowed for areas under general community quarantine.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the month-long celebration should serve as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of a cleaner environment as people around the world have started adapting to the so-called "new normal" amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that coronavirus restrictions resulted in positive environmental changes such as improved air and water quality, resurgence of wildlife, and renewed interest in urban gardening for food security and sustainability. The theme for this year is "Protect Nature, Sustain our Future."

Among the online activities lined up for the month as posted in the DENR's website is the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) "Greenviro Games" or online learning games like trivia quiz, crossword puzzle, word search and bingo. The winners will receive bamboo notebooks and limited edition ecobags as prizes.

Today, Envieducasong, the video song cover of the EMB Kantalikasan Singing Ambassadors will be posted online. Kantalikasan is an environmental song writing competition held every year to encourage local talents to create songs about the environment in any musical genre.

On June 12, which is also Independence Day, an online storytelling for kids will be held featuring stories on environmental awareness and protection of nature. To be shown are "Basura Monster" and the premier of the animated video "Ang Paglalakbay ni Niño at Niña," based on the storybook of the same title about the climate phenomena El Niño and La Niña.

From June 19 to 29, entries for the "Sing for the Earth," a Kantalikasan jam session and the Envileague, an environmental comic hero design contest, will be posted for online voting for the People's Choice Award.

Upcycled craft created during the enhanced community quarantine will be showcased in the online Envicraft Gallery on the second and third week of June. On the last week, EMB will hold an online lecture series featuring "Surviving Covid-19 Pandemic," which will discuss environmental management in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, and "Way Forward to Green Recovery," which will tackle ways for green recovery as the new normal.

Let's do something for the planet. Happy Environment Day!