To help today's students understand their role as tomorrow's environmental stewards, Bayer Corporation announced today it will partner with the United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Office in North America (UNEP RONA) to help sponsor the 36th annual World Environment Day celebration. This event will take place on Thursday, June 5, at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the North American regional host venue.
Commemorated each year on June 5, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. With thousands of events in the six UNEP regions of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, World Environment Day is considered the largest environmental event of its kind.
Here in North America at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the daylong celebration will be tied to the global World Environment Day theme, Kick the CO2 or Carbon Habit! Toward a Low Carbon Economy. It will include a series of activities aimed at both adults and children, highlighting resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and lifestyles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption.
Bayer AG is a global partner of UNEP. In North America, Bayer Corporation will sponsor a portion of the youth program at the Chicago Botanic Garden, including bringing the North American International Children's Painting Competition (ICPC) Exhibition, a signature World Environment Day initiative, to the Garden. Bayer also will host a special awards ceremony for ICPC entrants from North America and Chicago and will bring the Second Place North American winner to the event
In addition, after spending the morning participating in a series of climate change-related, hands-on activities at the Garden, Bayer will treat kindergarten through fifth grade students from Chicago area schools to a visit with Chicago native and hometown hero, Dr. Mae C. Jemison. Former director of the Jemison Institute of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College and founder of the international science camp, The Earth We Share (TEWS), Dr. Jemison is a scientist, educator and the nation's first African-American female astronaut.
Finally, Bayer, through the Bayer USA Foundation, also will award a community grant to a local Chicago nonprofit organization to enable students to work on a yearlong project that addresses this year's World Environment Day theme. The grant recipient will be announced on World Environment Day.
"Bayer has long been committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, and environmental education projects are one important part of that commitment," said Dr. Attila Molnar, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation. "We are extremely pleased to join with our parent company, Bayer AG, and UNEP to help bring World Environment Day to millions of people, especially students, and shine a light on climate change -- one of the most critical global issues of our time that science and science-based companies like Bayer will play a key role in helping to solve."
Dr. Molnar explained that, last fall, as part of the company's Making Science Make Sense(R) initiative, Bayer Corporation partnered with UNEP RONA to bring the International Children's Painting Competition to the company's site communities in North America, including Pittsburgh; the San Francisco Bay Area; Northern Indiana; Morristown, N.J.; the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area; and New Martinsville, W. Va.
More than 700 entries were received by UNEP RONA in February, from which the first and second place winners from North America will be selected and announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. On June 5, the First Place winner will travel to Wellington, New Zealand, while Bayer will bring the second place winner to Chicago for World Environment Day festivities.
"We're delighted that Bayer Corporation has joined UNEP in North America in our efforts to help educate the public and raise awareness of the issues associated with environmental protection and climate change," said Amy Fraenkel, Director, Regional Office for North America, UNEP. "The painting competition is particularly important in this regard because it reaches out to our youngest citizens, engaging them early on in important environmental issues and giving them an appreciation for the world they will inherit."
Other World Environment Day activities at the Chicago Botanic Garden will include a "Knowledge and Action" marketplace on the Esplanade where nonprofit, academic and student, government, cultural and environmental organizations will demonstrate the many ways that individuals, businesses and governmental bodies can help reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, an afternoon plenary session will bring together local, regional, national and international experts on global warming and climate change to discuss steps individuals from across the region, the nation and the world must begin to take to reduce their carbon footprints. Included in the panel will be Dr. Ashok Khosla, a former director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the 2002 recipient of the Sasakawa Environment Prize.