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Brussels, 4 June 2010
Statement by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, on the eve of World Environment Day, 5 June 2010
World Environment Day is an important day in the calendar. Our world needs it. By continuing to make the choices we make, by consuming and producing in the way that we have been doing for too long, we run the risk of changing the world irreversibly. We run the risk that future generations will not enjoy the planet in the same way that we have been lucky enough to do.
We need something to draw people's attention to the problems that are happening around us every single day, as we go about our normal lives and to the possible solutions to those problems. We need every day to be World Environment Day. We need every day to be a day for Biodiversity.
We need to remind ourselves over and over just how much we have to lose if we take the environment for granted. I don't just mean the risk of polluting our air, soil and water but also the economic damage we can do by destroying crucial ecosystems. These are the same ecosystems which regulate climate change, treat our waste, purify our air and water and prevent floods and droughts. The ecosystems which provide habitats, cultural services, recreation and, let us not forget: jobs and growth.
In Europe we will continue to work towards halting biodiversity loss, towards improving our efficient use of resources and enforcing our legislation. Our vision is to make sure that biodiversity and its services are protected, valued and restored. We want people to know that they are essential contributors to human wellbeing and economic prosperity. We also know how important it is for us go further than our European environment policies – we will need to work across sectors, regions, countries and continents on this, the most global of global challenges. But this is not a job just for EU Institutions or governments. It is everyone's responsibility, including industry and consumers. We all share responsibility for the planet we live on and we need to act together.
I invite you to look at our biodiversity website and to take part in our awareness raising campaign: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/biodiversity/campaign/
We are all connected. We are all in this together.