Earth Hour is an annual global event. It is a call to act on climate change and a broad range of environmental issues. This worldwide grassroots movement unites people to protect the planet. Organized by WWF, this event is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world making it the largest environmental action in history. People in more than 180 countries and thousands of cities and towns around the world will take part.
Earth Hour is held every year around the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and
southern hemispheres respectively. This allows for near coincidental
sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual
impact for a global ‘lights out’ event.
In 2019 the event takes place on Saturday March 30th between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm in your local time zone. During that time citizens, business people, kids, parents and educators all across the globe will switch off the lights of their homes, schools, landmarks and businesses.
Earth Hour is more than a symbolic act or an opportunity to minimize our ecological footprint, it is a call to action.
This year’s theme is nature, specifically speaking up about why nature matters. As explained on the WWF Earth Hour site, “Our connection to Earth and nature is undeniable: our planet’s gain is everyone’s gain.
Nature not only provides us with all the things we need to live – from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and from the shelter we need to the economy we rely on – but also makes our lives better. However, its growing loss puts this all under threat.This Earth Hour.”
When Earth Hour started in 2007 it was focused on climate change, since then it has expanded to include a healthy planet. Earth Hour was born at a time when many people were skeptical about anthropogenic climate change. A dozen years later we are still grappling with people who refuse to accept the overwhelming body of evidence that conclusively proves the existence of man made global warming.
As explained on the Earth Hour website, “People around the world are calling for urgent action to protect our only home.” This year Earth Hour takes place against the backdrop of expanding fossil fuel extraction and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. We have been warned by a number of studies that we are rapidly running out of time. The latest UN Emissions Gap report suggests we have a little over a decade to act.
Earth Hour has been criticized for being a one hour event, however, the message is meant to resonate throughout the year. This is about more than just reducing our consumption of electricity, it is a call to responsible stewardship all year round.
Earth Hour has helped to galvanize public opinion it has also been a catalyst for action. Earth Hour 2019 asks us to make pledges including things like supporting renewable energy, making more sustainable food choices and conserving water. Over the years people, governments and organizations all around the world have launched a broad array of Earth Hour activities. Uganda started the world’s first Earth Hour forest, a 3.4 million-hectare marine protected area was created in Argentina and efforts were made to protect parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Earth Hour has also spawned actions the help people. This includes actions like building a sustainable fishing community in typhoon ravaged Philippines, supporting local communities in the Amazon and installing solar-arrays in Indian villages without electricity.
This worldwide event invites people to unite around a common
purpose. This is about coming together and working together for change. The scope of the problems we face are a threat to us all and as such all of us need to get involved. This is a global crisis that requires global solutions. The millions who participate in this event send a strong
message calling for action from governments.
“By going dark for Earth Hour, we can show steadfast
commitment to protecting our families, our communities and our planet
from the dangerous effects of a warming world,” said Lou Leonard of WWF
in a recent public statement. “The impacts of climate change are already
all around us. The rising demand for energy, food and water means this
problem is only going to worsen—unless we act now.”
Earth Hour is an opportunity for businesses to connect by showing that they care
about addressing the serious environmental threats we face. A wide assortment of businesses have publicly celebrated Earth Hour including, CBRE, The Body Shop and Ikea. As explained in a Triple Pundit article: “For businesses, this is an opportunity to show a commitment to climate action, remind stakeholders that renewables have a role in powering our future, and engage with communities on issues including environmental stewardship.”
Standing ovation after the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was approved at COP15. Image Credit: The Convention on Biological Diversity Just before Christmas, international governments signaled they may be ready to...