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World Environment Day

We look at the issues being confronted this World Environment Day

It is hard to imagine a world without some of our most iconic wild animals such as elephants, rhinos and orangutans, however this is an image we might have to get used to if the illegal trade of rare animals doesn’t stop. The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, taking place on the fifth of June is Go Wild For Life, which focuses on making people aware of the world’s most endangered animals, especially the ones that are threatened by illegal wildlife trafficking.

The animals this World Environmental Day puts a spotlight on in particular are elephants, rhinos, chimpanzees, pangolins and gorillas. Recent statistics show how drastically the lives of these specific animals are threatened. Chimpanzees are currently extinct in Burkina Faso, Benin, Gambia and Togo, 1338 rhinos were killed in Africa in 2015 alone, and in a period of two years 100,000 elephants were killed across Africa. These are just a few examples of moments these animals have been threatened by the actions of humans.

Many of these animals are trafficked because in certain cultures, they are worth a lot of money. Urban citizens pay huge sums of money for chimpanzee and gorilla meat making, it a commercialized business. Both chimpanzees and gorillas not only have man to fear, but are also threatened by deforestation, which deprives them from finding food and shelter. Elephants are also hunted for their valuable ivory tusks, their meat and their skin. The horns of the rhino are used in traditional Asian medicine and are assumed to cure things ranging from a hangover to cancer. Aside from all of these reasons, many parts of these animals are bought simply because very sadly they are considered a symbol of wealth.

On a more positive note: statistics also show that by taking care of the environment and implementing strict rules concerning the poaching of animals, things can change for the better. By implementing a zero rhino poaching tolerance policy, Nepal managed to allow a growth of 21 percent of their rhino population in a period of five years. Having a good ecosystem and protected animals also proves to be very good for the economy of a country. To contextualise this, a single living gorilla brings Uganda about $1 million per year through tourism.

Aside from focussing on a specific theme, World Environment Day also strives to raise a greater general awareness for environmental issues on a global scale. People are encouraged to set up their own initiatives to help improve the environment. Issues that are commonly addressed are things like air, soil and water pollution, global warming and deforestation. Initiatives vary from taking a bike instead of a car to picking up trash or creating a community garden.

Rêve En Vert is definitely “wild for life”; the life of our planet and the people and animals that inhabit it. Through the clothes we sell, we try to have a positive impact on lives and nature. Besides that, we also support Trees for the Future, an organization that helps multiple communities in different African countries to grow trees in order to improve the quality of the soil and give the people a better way of life. For every Rêve En Vert purchase, we donate to this amazing initiative.

Human or animal, we are all connected through the same planet we all inhabit. This means that we all have the responsibility to try our utmost to protect it.