Can you hear it? Yes, that’s the ticking sound of our planet’s biological clock saying “stop squeezing me dry or I won’t make it!“
Despite ongoing efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable sources of energy, our planet is struggling to meet the demands of a growing global population with increasing living standards.
The global ‘switch off‘ takes place on the last Saturday of March every year. Since its launch in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour has become an expression of unanimity and solidarity for a more sustainable path to progress, with millions of people across the globe taking part in the initiative every year.
The campaign gives every person in the world an opportunity to make a statement against climate change and the chance to support a common goal: preserving our resources and protecting our planet for ourselves and for future generations. Needless to say, Earth Hour raises the profile of global warming and brings the environmental rhetoric back to the front pages of our papers, even if only for a day.
But what is this event really about, I hear you ask? How does you turning off your lights for that sentimental hour make any sort of impact, better yet contribute to a greener tomorrow?
Earth Hour is one of countless ‘world‘ campaigns that come about every few months in the year, with each one dedicated to raising awareness on a burning humanitarian cause, deadly illness or an ongoing conflict that disappeared from our radars. When these events come about, I often ask myself whether all those calling for action really know what they are calling for. The reason for that is because, frankly, more often than not we come across people who claim to believe in a certain cause, only to profoundly contradict themselves a few steps down the line. Is it in our nature to yearn for that feeling of belonging, of being part of a global movement, no matter what the cause or purpose?
Regardless of whether you feel green is the way to go or you couldn’t care less about your carbon footprint, you will agree whith me when I say that Earth Hour serves one fundamental purpose: it gets us thinking. Thinking and talking about current environmental challenges, dilemas and most importantly, our prospects for the coming decades.
The forecast says sunny spells...
In order for the needs of the world’s growing populations to be addressed, it is essential that we promote energy efficiency, lower our dependency on fossil fuels and ensure long-term resilience of our land and natural resources. But don’t be mistaken - the WWF isn’t suggesting we keep the lights switched off forever. Although the idea of energy efficiency is quite far from that of energy conservation, both efforts result in significant greenhouse gas emission reductions and therefore contribute to a more sustainable form of maintenance and support for our ecosystems.
Instead of blaming our politians and policy makers for their lack of effort or double-edged agendas, Earth Hour does what very few other campaigns do: it shifts the power and control to you and me, and for an hour – or possibly longer- we become the bishops and knights on the global political chessboard.
Earth Hour is about ensuring the ongoing challenges faced by our planet are not forgotten. Although the initiative rests upon a conservational principle, it’s larger purpose is to raise awareness on how wasteful humanity is and calls for an increased focus on alternative sources of energy as our demand for everything and anything inceases by the day.
We can all play our part by making Earth hour last way beyond its allotted 60-minute cap. So to all the greenies and grinners, carborexics and energy wasters - let's join forces by turning off those lights, recycling those bottles and - for those feeling brave - planting a seed of hope for our planet, knowing we can create a future that is cleaner and greener.
Earth Hour will be held on Saturday 31st March at 8.30pm (local time) - share your moto and join the „I Will If You Will“ campaign on the WWF’s YouTube channel.