WWF’s Earth Hour is an annual global event where people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet. It’s the world’s largest stance towards climate change and this year it celebrates its 10th year of impact. This year it falls on Saturday 25th March.
However one question I frequently get from people is “what good is switching off our lights for an hour? I do that every night while I sleep”.
I understand entirely where they are coming from, it’s only an hour, what is the point? However “Earth Hour” is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges. The actual act of turning off your lights demonstrates a collaborative interest for an issue for which unless we unite we will never solve.
Work that “Earth Hour” has inspired includes:
- WWF-Uganda created the world’s first Earth Hour Forest
- More than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their country’s seas and forests
- Argentina used its 2013 Earth Hour campaign to help pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million hectares Marine Protected Area in the country
- Thousands of wood-saving stoves were distributed to families in Madagascar
- Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India
- In Paraguay, WWF used the Earth Hour platform to build public support to gain an extension of the logging moratorium, helping to reduce deforestation
- Education programs for schools were launched in Thailand and Taiwan
- Hundreds of thousands of LED lights were installed by girl scouts in the USA
- More than 2,123 mitigation actions submitted by Earth Hour City Challenge 2014
This is all a result of generous donations and the fantastic work of volunteers and ambassadors of “Earth Hour”. The motivation and drive for this work comes from the sense of unity and participation of people switching off their lights for “Earth Hour”(and obviously small donations from individuals).
Climate Change is a matter that should concern everyone. With an abundance of evidence available now to show it is really happening, now is the time to take action. Climate Change won’t just disappear. Governments and scientists have agreed that global warming must remain under 2°C to avoid catastrophic climate change. The mean global temperature has already risen by almost a full degree since the start of the Industrial Revolution. It is up to us to reduce the rate of this.
In 2008 the UK led the world by being the first country to set targets to reduce our emissions. The UK Government has since done a lot to build renewables and reduce emissions. It is now 2017 and no specific action has actually been carried out to meet those targets and no plans have been made to do so either. Public support and demonstrations are necessary so we can tell politicians we want to know how they’ll meet our emission targets and provide a secure future for the UK. With public support we can push the Government to have an ambitious and suitable Emissions Reduction Plan. This public support can be as much as volunteering for WWF or as even just turning off your lights on Saturday and donating £5.
So no, it isn’t “just” switching off your lights for an hour, its about drawing attention to and raising money for something that actually matters. If you are unable to participate in “Earth Hour”- show your love for the planet in a different way. Its 2017, and we should do something.
-Aneesa Ahmed, year 12
ALL information came from:
Feel free to do any additional research- and leave your opinions or plans for “Earth Hour” in the comments down below 🙂