Earth Hour, a global movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), takes place on Saturday 24 March at 8.30pm. The WWF is the world's leading independent conservation organisation. The mission of WWF members is to create a world in which people and wildlife can thrive together sustainably.
The original idea of Earth Hour was to focus attention on the significant challenges facing humanity in the management of planet Earth. In Sydney, Australia, in 2007, the hour was celebrated as a lights-off event. Individuals, communities, and businesses turned off non-essential electric lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.
The idea caught on and is now a worldwide event in which people are encouraged to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm next Saturday. Millions of people around the world take part in WWF's Earth Hour every year in a symbolic show of solidarity for the planet. Some of the world's biggest landmarks like Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, and Edinburgh Castle switch off lights as a visual display of their commitment.
Our planet is facing some of the biggest environmental threats that any generation has ever faced including climate change, unsustainable use of resources, over-consumption, pollution and loss of biodiversity.
The WWF-UK Living Planet Report paints a bleak picture of the damage done over the last 25-30 years: 80% of freshwater species have declined; over 50% of populations of land species have declined; 40% of our forests have disappeared to agricultural land with 15 million trees lost each year just for soy production; 1 in 6 of the planet's species is at risk of extinction from climate change; and so on.
What are you doing this Saturday 24 March from 8.30 until 9.30pm? You could switch your non-essential lights off for Earth Hour. Or you could promise yourself to change your behaviour in some small way that is more environmentally friendly such using a reusable coffee cup rather than buying a throw-away one every time, avoiding plastic cutlery in favour of reusable ones, washing your clothes at 30°C rather than at unnecessarily high temperatures, eating less meat, switching to green energy, etc, etc.
We live in a dysfunctional world. We all have a part to play in a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. What will your drop in the ocean be for Earth Hour, starting at 8.30pm next Saturday?