FeaturedNationalVOLUME 18 ISSUE # 19

Earth hour: A call to save nature

Earth Hour Day was observed all over the world on March 25. Every year, millions of people switch off for one hour to show that they care about the future of our planet. Earth Hour, when the lights dim in homes and cities, puts a virtual spotlight on our planet and the role people can play in protecting it.

In 2007, WWF and partners organised a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney that has since grown into a massive grassroots movement for environmental protection. Over 190 countries and territories participate in Earth Hour, a global event held annually on the last Saturday of March. In an effort to raise awareness about climate change, millions of people have taken part in global events every year since 2007.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) established Earth Hour to advocate for energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction. This observance involves a voluntary hour-long abstinence from all non-essential electric light sources. The symbolic event serves as a call to action for individuals, communities, and businesses worldwide to reflect on their environmental impact and contribute to the collective efforts to combat climate change.

In order to raise awareness of the importance of conserving nature, the day calls for various actions and ways that people can adopt to demonstrate their commitment to save nature from further damage. Individuals and leaders are encouraged to take action to protect the planet through Earth Hour. It also serves as a call to action to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for our coming generations.

At 08:30 pm local time on 25th of March, WWF’s Earth Hour, the world’s largest grassroots environmental protection movement, this year created the ‘Biggest Hour for Earth’. Across 190 countries and territories, millions of individuals, businesses and communities came together in a powerful show of unity to celebrate the day and ‘Give an Hour for Earth’, spending 60 minutes doing something positive for Mother Earth.

For the first time in its glorious 17-year history, this year’s Earth Hour encouraged people around the globe to ‘switch off’ themselves by taking a break from their workday routine and everyday distractions, and deciding for themselves what they can do to restore planet earth to its pristine purity. Millions of supporters took part in beach cleanups, tree planting and a variety of exciting events organised across the world.

In his message on the occasion, Dr Kirsten Schuijt, Director General, WWF International said: “Earth Hour is a fantastic celebration of people, planet and nature. This year we want to create the Biggest Hour for Earth yet! We’re asking everyone to “switch off” – their lights or their daily habits – and spend 60 minutes doing something for the planet instead. Together, we can turn a single Earth Hour into millions of hours of inspiration, inviting millions of people to act, and making millions more take notice. Our one shared home needs our help and we can all play a part in protecting it.”

Another message came from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: “On Earth Hour every year, millions of people in hundreds of cities around the world turn off the lights. It’s a call to action to make peace with nature, massively increase climate action and save our planet. And it is a reminder that all of us can play our part in large and small ways, to protect our common home and safeguard our future.”

This year’s Earth Hour followed the historic Kunming-Montreal Agreement at COP15, which in December last year committed the world to halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. Experts are of the view that alarming rates of natural loss are putting species at risk of extinction, with increasing numbers of individuals and families in communities across the world set to lose their homes and access to basic necessities like food, clean water and a livable environment.

Last year’s WWF’s latest Living Planet report highlighted that one million species are now threatened with extinction and global wildlife populations have declined by a staggering 69% since 1970. At the same time, WWF has warned that time is running out to tackle the climate crisis, with the planet on track to breach the 1.5°C limit at the latest by the early 2030s, risking global destabilisation and irreversible environmental degradation.

Given the growing impact of climate change in various parts of the world, Earth Hour is more important than ever before. 2023 is seen as the year of change needed to reach that crucial 2030 nature positive goal. With more people than ever taking part in this year’s iconic event, Earth Hour 2023 will serve as a powerful reminder of the need to work together to secure a brighter future for people and the planet. Long live Earth Hour.