About Environment Week

Family cleaning a stream
© Thinkstockphotos.ca, 2013

What Is Canadian Environment Week?

Canadian Environment Week is a time for grassroots action to help preserve, protect and restore our environment. This annual event provides us all with an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made but also to encourage further efforts all year long.

It is important to remember that every effort counts, big or small.

When Is It?

Canadian Environment Week takes place the first week of June to coincide with World Environment Day.

What Is World Environment Day?

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. This day is one of the main ways the United Nations helps raise global awareness of environmental issues and encourages attention and action.

What Is Clean Air Day?

Clean Air Day is a celebration of environmentally friendly activities that promote clean air and good health across Canada. What a perfect time to make lifestyle changes that help reduce our environmental footprint.

What Is World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day is a time to remember the life-giving role of oceans worldwide. This international celebration, declared more than two decades ago at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, has grown from a ripple into a tidal wave of awareness about the importance of our oceans.

Who Started Environment Week?

The idea for Environment Week emerged in 1970, when former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (PM from 1957-1963) noted the “tremendous energy, enthusiasm and initiative” of young people concerned about pollution. Diefenbaker approached the House of Commons with the concept of setting one week a year aside to focus on environmental issues.

Later that same year, Tom Goode, a Member of Parliament from British Columbia, pursued Diefenbaker’s idea by introducing a bill to designate a "Canadian National Pollution Awareness Week". The bill was passed by the House based on considerable support from the public and all political parties. Royal Assent was given in March 1971. To draw attention to all aspects of a healthy environment, the name "Canadian National Environment Week" was chosen.

Who Is Involved?

Everyone! Canadian Environment Week has events that will interest all members of the public, from the youngest to the oldest. Ultimately, it takes everyone getting involved to make Canadian Environment Week a real success.  

Need More Activity and Event Ideas?

There are many opportunities for you to celebrate our environment. Create your own unique activity or event. Here are some ideas that may help you:

  • Have a tree-planting party in your community! Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do for the environment.
  • Have environment theme "paint-offs" and music from local artists to showcase works dealing with the environment.
  • Create YouTube videos on different ways to be environmentally friendly. Examples could be how to make your own household cleaning products and soaps. Share your knowledge with the world!
  • Host a kids' arts and crafts contest using only recycled products, e.g., a hanging mobile using blue box content.
  • Have a trash-free barbecue and invite guests to bring dinnerware (utensils) or use a Frisbee as a plate! This is good for the environment and good for your health (running after it) afterwards!
  • Work with local educational facilities to sponsor nature walks or talks. Do not forget to pick up litter on your walk.
  • Host a short triathlon (walking, cycling, running) with E-Week themed prizes. Make sure to think green when putting your list of prizes together.
  • Get your local officials involved! Invite your mayor or other elected official to give a speech and attend your events. Invite the local radio station or newspaper.
  • Invite local environmental organizations to set up booths at your event, school or workplace.
  • Encourage people to take the bus, carpool or ride their bikes to your event (and you too!) to stay active and keep the air clean.
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