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The U.N. celebrity ambassadors have challenged the world to get involved with World Environment Day.The U.N. celebrity ambassadors have challenged the world to get involved with World Environment Day.

Today World Environment Day! Join the Challenge!

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Today is World Environmental Day, which the U.N. established in 1972 to promote environmental awareness around the world. As part of the event, the U.N. celebrity ambassadors issue a challenge for the day; last year, supermodel Gisele Bundchen narrowly beat Don Cheadle to take home the win.

This year, actor Ian Somerhalder has joined their ranks, but instead of competing against one another, the celebs have issued a global challenge to mobilize support for the environment around the world. Their goal is to “mobilize millions” in a “global showdown” to get green.

According to HuffPo, this year’s challenge theme is “Green Economy: Does it include you?” A green economy is “one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.” The challenge asks supporters to take at least one step to participate in a green economy and register the activity. Winners will be judged in one of five categories (see above), and the grand prize for each is a new, fuel-efficient car.

Last year, U.N. research confirmed that “an investment of two percent of global GDP across 10 key sectors is what is required to kickstart a shift from the current brown, polluting and inefficient economy to a green one.”

HuffPo also points out that 2011 was a record year for carbon emissions, a trend that could have a devastating impact for the planet. “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,” says Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist.

Those numbers are worrying, but the U.N. hopes that statistics like that will get people around the world involved in the challenge.

Check out Cheadle’s challenge video below, and for more celeb videos and info, visit the UNEP WED Challenge site.

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