1. The German environment associations NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) has named Ilse Aigner, Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, as its “Dinosaur of the Year” in 2012. NABU has presented the award every year to personalities who distinguish themselves with antiquated ideas about environmental protection since 1993.

  2. North Spanish city Vitoria-Gastei had been named as winners of the European Green Capital award for 2012. Vitoria-Gasteiz, a regional capital of northern Spain, has made great progress in greening a traditional urban environment. The Green Belt, a semi-natural green area partially reclaimed from degraded areas, surrounds the centre, ensuring its entire population of almost a quarter of a million people lives within 300 metres of an open green space. Numerous measures are in place to assist and increase biodiversity and ecosystem services. Flora and fauna are monitored and habitat fragmentation is reduced wherever possible. The city is successfully coping with water scarcity and has steadily decreased its water consumption over the last decade. Many water related investments have been made to improve water supply and quality, reduce losses, and work towards sustainable consumption. Vitoria-Gasteiz has an ambitious objective of reducing domestic water consumption to below 100 litres per capita per day.

  3. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, launched the 40th anniversary celebration of the World Heritage Convention in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 30 January 2012. It was the first of a series of events States Parties to the 1972 Convention are organizing around the world over 2012.

  4. In December 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2012 as the "International Year for Sustainable Energy for All" (Resolution 65/151), aimed at creating "an enabling environment for the promotion and use of new and renewable energy technologies, including measures to improve access to such technologies.

  5. The revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, adopted by the Bundestag on 30 June 2011 and passed by the Bundesrat on 8 July 2011, also made comprehensive amendments to the Biomass Ordinance (BiomasseV) which become effective on 1 January 2012.

  6. Avenue of the Year 2012 is a lime tree avenue in Brandenburg between Dansow and Annenwalde near Templin (Uckermark).

  7. Laboratory Animal of the Year 2012 is the Atherosclerosis Mouse.

  8. On 22 March 2012, the Global Nature Fund (GNF) announced, for the second time, the choice of Lake Stechlin in Brandenburg as Living Lake of the Year 2012. The lake has been selected by the members of the network Living Lakes Germany, which was founded in 2009 by the GNF.

  9. Algal researchers of the German Botanical Society have chosen the stonewort (Charales) as alga of the year 2012.

  10. Liquorice has been selected as Medicinal Plant of the Year 2012 because of its paramount importance to human well-being world-wide. The selection was made by a panel from the University of Würzburg, WWF and TRAFFIC.

  11. Since 2011, the Federal Environment Agency has selected a "water body type of the year". Water Body Type of the Year 2012 is the "sandy, loamy lowland river", a water body type that includes the rivers Lippe, Ems, Aller, Alster, Elbe and Spree.

  12. Cactus of the year 2012 is the Sand Dollar Cactus, Sea Urchin Cactus, Star Cactus or Star Peyote (Astrophytum asterias).

  13. Dragonfly of the Year 2012 is the Southern Hawker or Blue Darner (Aeshna cyanea).

  14. Flower of the Year 2012 is the Maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides).

  15. The European larch (Larix decidua) is the tree of the Year 2012.

  16. Fungus of the Year 2012 is the Cantharellus cinereus.

  17. Fish of the Year 2012 are the Lampreys. In zoology, lampreys are sometimes not considered to be true fish because of their distinctive morphology and physiology.

  18. Bird of the Year 2012 is the Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula).

  19. Insect of the Year 2012 is the European stag beetle (Lucanus Cervus).

  20. The Meulenwald in Hetzerath (Municipaliy Bernkastel-Wittlich) was chosen as Forest of the Year 2012 by the Union of German Foresters (Bund Deutscher Forstleute BDF). It documents the exemplary fulfillment of all requirements of society and nature in a forest as well as the efforts of the foresters. The Forest of the Year will be announced on an annual basis.

  21. Lichen of the year 2012 is the Lobaria pulmonaria.

  22. Moss of the Year 2012 is the Buxbaumia viridis.

  23. Orchid of the Year 2012 is the Orchis pallens.

  24. The Common toad or European toad ( bufo bufo) was nominated to the Amphibian of the Year 2012 by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT).

  25. German Mollusc of the Year 2012 is the Oxyloma elegans.

  26. Spider of the Year 2012 is the large cave spider (Meta menardi). The large cave spider is one of 955 species of long-jawed spider known throughout the world. In Europe we have 29 species, in central Europe 19. The large cave spider Meta menardi is geographically widely distributed. In central Europe it is usually found in upland regions, and is particularly common in karst areas such as the Frankish or Swabian Alps. The spider lives in subterranean caves, cellars, mineshafts and within stone runs with a medium level of humidity and a constant temperature above 7°C. The body length of the large cave spider Meta menardi is 11 to 13 mm in males and 14 to 17 mm in females.

  27. Butterfly of the Year 2012 is the Small Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia).

  28. Endangered livestock breed of the year 2012 is the Deutscher Sperber.

  29. Water plant of the Year 2012 is the White water-crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis).

  30. Cave Animal of the Year 2012 is the large cave spider (Meta menardi).

  31. Every year since 2004, the Global Nature Fund, announces the Threatened Lake of the Year on February 2nd. Lake Titicaca is the Threatened Lake of the Year 2012. Lake Titicaca is the largest freshwater lake in South America and the highest, commercially navigable body of water in the world. In the barren plateau of the Andes, the Altiplano in Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca was and continues to be of existential importance to the surrounding population due to its role as a source of drinking water and, thanks to its abundance of fish, of food. Around 2 million people live in Lake Titicaca’s catchment area today. This has put high demands on all of the resources of the lake, the shore areas and the adjoining land. In past decades, the self-cleaning capacity of the lake was relied upon, causing the clarification of waste water in the catchment area to be carried out inadequately. The grave consequences of these failings can be seen in many places today. Together with the massive overuse of the lake, they account for the highly endangered status of the lake and threaten the future provision of livelihoods for many people and animals.

  32. Acanthamoeba is the protozoa of the year 2012.

  33. Animal of the Year 2012 is the Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra.

  34. Perennial Herb of the Year 2012 is the Knotweed.

  35. Poisonous Plant of the Year 2012 is the Common laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides).

  36. Citrullus colocynthis, commonly known as the colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, egusi, or vine of Sodom named 2012 Medicinal Herb of the Year by the NHV Theophrastus.

  37. In January and February 2012 poachers slaughtered more than 450 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon.

  38. 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States of America. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average.

  39. Nitrogen dioxide and particulates continue to impact air quality in Germany, according to interim measurement data for 2012 provided by the Länder and the Federal Environment Agency. The allowable annual mean for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) of 40 micrograms per cubic metre air (µg/m3) was exceeded at 52 per cent of urban stations located near traffic. In contrast, the PM10 annual mean values for particulates, which is also 40 µg/m3, remained constant throughout Germany in 2012. Air pollution by particulates last year was one of the lowest since monitoring began. Exceedences of daily mean values occurred mainly at monitoring stations located near traffic. Even when weather conditions were favourable, the values measured in 2012 at nearly 10 per cent of stations close to traffic were over the daily limit value for particulates.

  40. In new estimates released on 25 March 2014, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.