On World Environment Day, which is observed on 5 June every year, the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa called for a healthy balance between economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability. The day was held under the theme "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care".
Minister Molewa, together with the head of the United Nations Environment Programme in Africa Cecilia Njenga, and member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment Patrick Mabilo, led the World Environment Day celebrations in Kimberley, Northern Cape on World Environment Day.
The celebrations in Kimberley focused on key environmental aspects such as job creation in the environment sector, sustainable development, biodiversity and weather. The South African National Parks (SANParks), South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), as well as other provincial structures took part in the celebrations.
"In keeping with the theme it is pertinent to consider that it is the responsibility of each and every person to protect our environment, to do more with less or ensure that greater care is taken in the way limited resources are consumed, in order to secure a sustainable future for all," the Minister said.
Molewa said human prosperity need not cost the Earth. “Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth."
The Minister encouraged South Africans to "remember that when they work for the environment, the environment will work for them".
The theme, which was declared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), centres around the wellbeing of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, which ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet's natural resources. Minister Molewa said through the theme, emphasis was placed on the actions that could be taken by all individuals to help save the planet "because every action and dream, no matter how big or small, counts".