Skip to comments.World marks green (World Environment) day; big city mayors sign pacts
Posted on 06/05/2005 5:09:18 PM PDT by Libloather
World marks green day; big city mayors sign pacts
1 hour, 29 minutes ago
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) members put up a giant faucet in front of the 'Christ the Redeemer' statue, atop Corcovado mountain, in front of one of Rio de Janeiro's best-known tourist attractions, Sugar Loaf mountain, during celebrations of World Environment Day in Rio de Janeiro, June 5, 2005. (Reuters/Bruno Domingos)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Big city mayors from around the world signed a series of pacts on Sunday to improve the conditions of urban centers, capping a five-day U.N. World Environment conference in San Francisco, the city where the United Nations was founded in 1945.
The signing ceremony on World Environment Day in the ornate rotunda at City Hall committed more than 50 of the world's largest cities to "build an ecologically sustainable, economically dynamic, and socially equitable future for our urban citizens," organizers said.
The accords call for 21 actions aimed at putting cities on a path to greener, cleaner, healthier environments for their current residents and the estimated 1 million people moving to cities each week.
They covered energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water improvement programs to be implemented by mayors and delegates from cities like Jakarta, London, Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, Lausanne, and Calcutta.
Among the goals to develop global "Green Cities," the programs seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030, set a policy of zero waste going to landfills and incinerators by 2040, ensure public parks within a half mile of every city resident by 2015, and safe drinking water for all by 2015.
The San Francisco event wound up a day of conferences, concerts, art shows, tours, films, parades, tree plantings and cleanup drives in cities around the world, all focusing on building momentum for environmental change.
By 2030, more than 60 percent of the world's population will live in cities, up from almost half now and just a third in 1950, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. Growth poses huge problems ranging from clean water supplies to trash collection.
"Already, one of every three urban dwellers lives in a slum," Annan said in a statement. "Let us create green cities."
He added the U.N. goal of halving poverty by 2015 would not be met unless city planning was less haphazard.
Activists mark June 5, the date of the first environmental summit in Stockholm in 1972, as the U.N.'s World Environment Day. The 2005 theme was "greener" planning for cities, many of them hit by air pollution, fouled rivers and poor sanitation.
Elsewhere on Sunday, millions of people from Japan to Jamaica marked World Environment Day by planting trees or staging rallies as the United Nations urged better "green" city planning to cope with runaway urban growth.
In China, home to a fifth of humanity, the 2005 focus was to curb noise and clean up fouled water, air and rubbish in urban areas, Pan Yue, vice minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, told Chinese Central Television.
In Australia, green groups and local councils organized festivals to promote awareness of environmental issues from recycling to tree planting to cleaning up waterways.
In Greece, the port of Zakynthos banned cars for the day and allowed free public transport, while tree planting took place along the Sri Lankan coast -- devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami -- in Kenya and at Ocho Rios on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
Among events in Japan, a fashion show encouraged workers to dress less formally in summer to help cut air conditioning bills and save energy under a government-sponsored "Cool Biz" drive.
"By trying on these clothes, it helps ... raise awareness of environmental issues and help realize how we need to revolutionize our ways," said Sanyo Electric Chairman Satoshi Iue after walking down a catwalk in a gray suit and a white stiff-collar shirt -- but minus a tie.
In Norway, a youth group protested plans to build new gas-fired power plants, saying they would mean too much pollution and add to greenhouse gas emissions.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo, Leonard Anderson in San Francisco and Sarah Tippit in Los Angeles.)
Seems almost every day of the year is now designated some sort of leftist holiday.
Damn! Of all days for me to have my chainsaw loaned out.
A Chinese girl displays a dress made of recycled bottles and waste compact discs in a children's fashion show with a protect-the-environment theme in Shaoxing, east China's Zhejiang province, June 4, 2005. The show is part of activities in the city to mark the World Environment Day which falls on June 5. CHINA OUT REUTERS/China Newsphoto
A Chinese woman covers her face while walking along a Beijing street. World Environment Day on Sunday points a warning finger at cities, picking out suburban sprawl, shanty towns, pollution and the plundering of precious water resources as threats that mire people in poverty and have a global impact.(AFP/file/Frederic J. Brown)
Christina Mac Farquhar from Scotland displays an outfit decorated with recyclable items and grass during a rally to celebrate World Environment Day, Sunday, June 5, 2005, in Taipei, Taiwan. World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action as well as promoting the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. (AP Photo/Jerome Favre)
People walk past an art installation by Spanish artist Nuria Roman called 'Entre Ciclos' in Valencia June 5, 2005. Several artists displayed works of art related to recycling and the environment to celebrate World Environment Day 2005. Photo by Heino Kalis/Reuters
A boy stands by an art installation by Spanish artist Marta Roman called 'Automacetas' in Valencia June 5, 2005. Several artists displayed works of art related to recycling and the environment to celebrate World Environment Day 2005. REUTERS/Heino Kalis
A youth eats leftovers found in a garbage dump on the outskirts of New Delhi June 5, 2005. World Environment Day is commemorated annually on June 5. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore
Workers dump tannery waste into a ditch at Hazaribagh in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka June 5, 2005. There are 149 tanning factories in Hazaribagh and according to the Department of Environment, they discharge 15,000 cubic litres of liquid waste and 19 tons of solid waste every day, polluting the environment and causing health hazards. The world marks annual World Environment Day on Sunday grappling with headaches caused by fast-growing cities. (Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signs a international treaty with mayors from around the world, shown in background, at San Francisco City Hall Sunday, June 5, 2005, during the United Nations World Environment Day Conference. The accord makes cities more environmentally conscious that calls for boosting use of public transportation, drastic cuts to the volume of trash sent to landfills and ensured access to potable water. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, right and Istanbul, Turkey, Deputy Mayor Idris Gulluce, hold up an international treaty after it was signed by mayors from around the world at San Francisco City Hall, Sunday, June 5, 2005, during the United Nations World Environment Day Conference. The accord makes cities more environmentally conscious that calls for boosting use of public transportation, drastic cuts to the volume of trash sent to landfills and ensured access to potable water. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, right and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, embrace after Pelosi spoke at San Francisco City Hall Sunday, June 5, 2005, during the United Nations World Environment Day Conference. Mayors from around the world signed an accord that makes cities more environmentally conscious that calls for boosting use of public transportation, drastic cuts to the volume of trash sent to landfills and ensured access to potable water. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
With photos from the Ecuadoran Amazon being held up behind her, human rights activist Bianca Jagger speaks on the impact of oil extraction and refining on the environment, at a press conference outside City Hall in San Francisco on June 5, 2005, at the close of UN World Environment Day 2005. Jagger said that the ChevronTexaco energy corporation has a moral responsibility to clean up environmental pollution left in Ecuador from Texaco's oil production operations there. REUTERS/Lou Dematteis
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