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geneva-lake  ON THE GROUND

Tour de force #withnature in Geneva

The Geneva Environment Network (GEN) led a huge variety of events connecting the general public to nature for World Environment Day.

These ranged from visits to an organic farm and green energy sites, recycling workshops, an awareness-raising film screening and a discussion to reflect on what nature conservation should look like in the 21st century.

The roundtable discussion kicked off the celebrations and offered a chance to re-think how nature conservation can be designed and carried out in light of the Global Goals being adopted.  A new vision is needed, policymakers, academia and UN Environment experts agreed. This would see our economy decarbonized, a healthy biosphere maintained and equity focused on to a far greater extent.

In terms of hands-on experiences, a visit to a recycling workshop offered the chance to see how items like printer cartridges can be reused and precious materials from electronics recovered. A further workshop taught participants how to transform spare textile into stylish bags and pencil cases for example, encouraging sustainable consumption.

Locals wondering where their electricity comes from meanwhile had the chance to visit a hydroelectric plant in Verbois as well as one of Switzerland’s largest solar sites nearby, made up of 6,000 photovoltaic panels. A paper recycling centre also opened its doors for the day to show visitors its journey from recycling bin to being sent out for reuse, while an organic farm offered visitors with a real-life example of how an economic activity could be done while respecting nature.  

Back in town centre, more than 100 people formed 24 teams to take part in the legendary Environment Day quiz organised by GEN on 1 June. Questions ranged from identifying tree species to the names of celebrity vegans, and the top teams were awarded with the chance to meet top UN officials or the CEO of Geneva’s local energy provider.

Thanks to catering by Eldora, the Environment House where UN Environment staff are based in Geneva furthermore served-up a special menu of local food for the day, showing how our choices can lessen the impact of meals on the planet.

Finally, a line-up of Protected Areas - Emeraude sites in Switzerland and Natura 2000 sites in neighbouring France – were also visited and promoted to encourage people to connect with nature.

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