What is World Habitat Day? How To Get Involved 

Written by Ollie Wilkinson

World Habitat Day

World Habitat Day is a global observance that takes place every year. But what is it? And how can you get involved? Find out in our latest blog! 

What is World Habitat Day? 

Recognised by the United Nations since 1986, World Habitat Day is an annual event that focuses on the sustainability and state of human habitats across the globe.  

The day reminds us of our power to shape a brighter future, and the responsibility we all have towards protecting our many habitats, shelters and communities. Pretty neat, right? 

When is World Habitat Day? 

Every year, World Habitat Day falls on the first Monday of October. The event is part of the United Nations’ Urban October, which helps create “a better urban future” for our towns and cities. 

World Habitat Day 2022 takes place on Monday 3rd October in Balikesir, Turkiye.  

The history behind World Habitat Day 

The first World Habitat Day took place in 1986 in Nairobi, Kenya, with the theme ‘Shelter is my right’. It’s been observed every year since, in countries spanning all over the planet, from London in 1990 all the way to Shanghai in 2010. 

Each year takes on a new theme. In 2020, it was ‘Housing For All: A Better Urban Future’. This was celebrated in Surabaya, Indonesia, and concentrated on how senior Housing officials can “rethink tomorrow’s society” and create decent housing for all, with 1.6 billion people currently living in inadequate housing (UN). 

World Habitat Day 2022: What’s the theme? 

Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind 

The UN’s World Habitat Day 2022 will look at “the problem of growing inequality and challenges in cities and human settlements.” 

This aligns with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and involves: 

  • Eradicating poverty in all forms 
  • Ending discrimination and exclusion 
  • Reducing inequality and vulnerabilities 

World Habitat Day and sustainability 

Earth is the biggest home we’ve got. And it needs protecting.  

Roughly 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions stem from cities, thanks to transport, buildings and waste management. Many homes are now under threat of climate-related disasters, like flooding, droughts and extreme weather. 

This is why sustainability is a recurring World Habitat Day theme, with leading experts meeting each year to discuss how to: 

  • – Conserve cultural heritage 
  • – Develop territories, and… 

…without harming the planet. 

Building sustainable societies 

Marine pollution, food waste and plastic pollution are just a small handful of the challenges we must overcome to build a brighter, greener future. And global observances like World Habitat Day go a long way towards raising awareness of how we can do this. 

The 2021 World Habitat Day theme, for example, was ‘Accelerating Urban Action For A Carbon-Free World’. This continued the UN’s mission to build more sustainable societies by: 

  • – Reducing poverty 
  • – Creating jobs 
  • – Providing affordable, accessible housing 
  • – Managing ecosystems 
  • – Reducing climate-related risks 

Five easy ways you can create a more sustainable future 

Building a sustainable future may seem like a massive task. But you don’t have to be a world famous scientist or member of the UN to make a difference.  

There are many ways you can help create a brighter future from the comfort of your own homes. Here are a few simple things you can do to get the ball rolling… 

1. Reduce your plastic waste 

The Big Plastic Count revealed that just 12% of the 1.85 billion pieces of plastic waste thrown away each week is recycled. The rest is incinerated, landfilled or exported overseas, resulting in a hideous amounts of waste and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The following simple changes can make the world of difference: 

2. Get involved in rewilding 

Human habitats aren’t the only ones that need protection. 41% of UK species are in decline (RSPB), with native woodland covering less than 3% of our land (Woodland Trust). 

Rewilding helps to restore biodiversity and environmental balance. And it’s so easy to do! 

3. Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels 

Transport produces over a quarter of the UK’s emissions, with 91% coming from road vehicles. Walking, cycling and cutting down on short, unnecessary drives will massively reduce your carbon footprint. 

4. Buy local 

Who doesn’t love a good local? This doesn’t just mean your nearby watering hole, though. 

Living sustainably means buying from a variety of local businesses, swapping the hefty emissions of international couriers with the very best your neighbours and community members have to offer. 

5. Volunteer in your local community 

Sustainable development is defined as building something that helps both you and future generations. Protecting the environment is a key part of this, but it also involves many other aspects, like education, health, job opportunities, and the economy. 

Volunteering is a great way to: 

  1. 1. Make a difference in building a sustainable future. 
  1. 2. Play an active role in your local community. 
  1. 3. Meet new people. 
  1. 4. Gain new skills, knowledge and experience. 

Fancy getting involved? Check out the Government’s volunteering guide

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