Rapa Valley in Sarek National Park, Sweden
© Alena Vishina/Alam
'Only One Earth'. World Environment Day
The Swedish wilderness is a fitting place to visit on World Environment Day, for it was in Sweden that the United Nations launched the annual observance 50 years ago, in 1972. This is Rapadalen (Rapa Valley), a 22-mile-long valley in Sarek National Park in the pristine mountains of northern Sweden. Surrounded by steep mountains, the Rapa Valley is considered one of Europe's most enchanting landscapes. The remote, high-alpine region is beautiful to be sure, but it's only recommended for experienced and well-equipped hikers. The weather is severe and unpredictable, and there are no accommodations available for tourists.
Like Earth Day, World Environment Day celebrates our fragile planet and aims to motivate people to help preserve it. This year's theme for World Environment Day is 'Only One Earth,' a reprise from 50 years ago at the UN's landmark Conference on the Environment held in Stockholm. But that theme has been updated for 2022: The UN says, "In the universe are billions of galaxies / In our galaxy are billions of planets / But there is #OnlyOneEarth. Let's take care of it."