This Saturday at 8.30pm, millions of people and businesses around the world will be turning off their lights until 9.30pm to show their support for Earth Hour. This movement was started by the WWF in an attempt to raise awareness of the need for action on climate change.
It is a movement designed to encourage us to talk about and tackle climate change on a global level, bringing us together with this one symbolic action. It is by no means an event that is supposed to reduce carbon emissions or energy usage. Instead it is a time to think about our impact on the planet and take accountability for our ecological footprint as individuals, businesses and governments. Participation in the Earth Hour event symbolises a commitment to change our habits, and work towards finding real solutions to the environmental challenges we face on a global scale.
Since Earth Hour began ten years ago, there have been significant achievements made:
- 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 participating cities
We need to remember that tackling climate change is going to take more than simply turning out the lights. As individuals we can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but for real global change we need to work hard to get governments to change their climate policies, voting in candidates who take a strong stance and lobbying our own MPs so they can take our complaints to parliament.
There are larger organisations and companies who exploit our planet and fund harmful practices like deforestation and the continued use of fossil fuels. To make a real change we need to join organisations that expose these practices and make conscious decisions to support ethical companies, as well as showing our support and solidarity.