WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2021 (ENS) – Wherever you are at 8:30 o’clock tonight, it will be Earth Hour, so turn off your lights for one hour to recognize the health of the planet and the importance of nature.
Earth Hour is the flagship environmental action of the international nonprofit WWF, one of the world’s largest conservation organizations. Begun in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become one of the world’s best-loved grassroots movements for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organizations in more than 180 countries and territories to take environmental action.
Historically, Earth Hour has focused on the climate crisis, but more recently, Earth Hour has striven also to bring “the pressing issue of nature loss” to the forefront of public attention. The aim is to create an unstoppable movement for nature, as it did when the world came together to tackle climate change.
”Whether it is a decline in pollinators, fewer fish in the ocean and rivers, disappearing forests or the wider loss of biodiversity, the evidence is mounting that nature is in free fall. And this is because of the way we live our lives and run our economies,” said Marco Lambertini, director general, WWF International.
“Protecting nature is our moral responsibility but losing it also increases our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerates climate change, and threatens our food security,” Lambertini said.
“We must stop taking nature for granted, respect its intrinsic value, and, importantly, value the crucial services it provides to our health, wellbeing and economy,” Lambertini said. “We need to unite and take urgent action now to set nature on the path to recovery and secure a nature-positive world, while supporting climate action. By acting for nature, we can all create a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world.”
With COVID-19 safety regulations continuing in several parts of the world, many countries will be celebrating Earth Hour 2021 online, mobilizing millions of people from across the globe to speak up for nature.
This year is set to be another important moment for the Earth Hour movement, with more than 140 countries and territories coming together to highlight and invite action on the environmental issues most relevant to them.
Many famous landmarks including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tokyo Skytree, Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Colosseum in Rome, Rova of Antananarivo in Madagascar, UAP Old Mutual Tower in Nairobi, the Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, Taipei 101 and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore will go dark in a symbolic gesture of support tonight at 8:30 local time – Earth Hour.
Uganda is partnering with the Scouts, social organizations and government agencies for Earth Hour to push for a total single-use plastic ban. Ugandans will also launch a “Keep It Green and Clean” campaign to organize a local clean-up and tree-planting drive.
Over 40 countries will come together for the biggest Latin America Digital March for Earth Hour. The interactive platform allows participants to personalize their avatars and message to “speak up for nature” under three themes: biodiversity, plastic and climate change.
Malaysia is organizing a 10 kilometer Virtual Run from March 27 to April 15, 2021, the proceeds of which will help to fund projects on nature, wildlife and forests. They are also inviting people to take a pledge to protect nature.
With its campaign “Let Oceans Shine,” Hong Kong will spotlight the threats the oceans face from pollution, unsustainable fishing and unsustainable development.
Singapore will launch a digital campaign to mobilize people for achieving net-zero emissions in Singapore by 2050. WWF-Singapore will invite individuals to set up their own net-zero plans with tangible climate actions to reduce their overall carbon footprints.
Public figures, celebrities, youth organizations and businesses from across the globe will be supporting Earth Hour to draw attention to the nature and climate crises.
John Kani, environmentalist and the star of acclaimed films such as Black Panther, Captain America and The Lion King, is lending his voice to a video to be released on Earth Hour to raise awareness about the link between nature loss and human health.
”From lush green forests to the shimmering deep blue oceans, the beauty of our one shared home, our Earth, is unparalleled,” Kani said. “We rely on nature for everything – our food, our water, even our livelihoods. But we are losing our natural treasures faster than they can replenish themselves.’
‘Preventing nature loss is not just our moral duty, it is critical to our very existence. We urgently need to take action to prevent further degradation of our natural world, for securing our own future. Join me this Earth Hour when we collectively raise our voice for nature to secure a greener, healthier future for all,” Kani said.
Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara and South Korean star Park Seo-Joon are also sharing video messages on Earth Hour calling on everyone to help reverse the loss of nature.
As the lights go out in homes and cities, Earth Hour will bring people together to put a virtual spotlight on the planet and the role people can play in global efforts to fortify nature.
With mounting evidence linking nature’s destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19, Earth Hour will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of nature, in a year when leaders will take key decisions on nature, climate change and sustainable development.
Pledging his support for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized in a video message that now is the time to be bold and ambitious, and show the world we are determined to protect the one home we all share.
In recognition of the critical role young people will play in creating a more sustainable world, many global youth groups including the group started by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg Fridays For Future, the Montreal-based student organization AIESEC, the UN Global Youth Biodiversity Network, the Global Scouts, the YMCA, and the Global Youth Action Team will be participating in Earth Hour, to strengthen the call for a safer, healthier future for all.
This Earth Hour, Business for Nature, a global coalition that brings together business and conservation organizations, will be calling on governments to urgently adopt policies for reversing nature loss by the end of the decade.
Eva Zabey, executive director, Business for Nature, said, “COVID-19 has given us a stark warning of the risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities of our interconnected systems , and what’s at stake for everyone if we cannot mobilize action. Leading companies recognize they need to act now to both cut greenhouse gas emissions and reverse nature loss by 2030.”
“Earth Hour is taking place during a critical year, when world leaders are due to agree an ambitious global agreement on nature,” Zabey said. “Let us use this symbolic moment to think about how we work together – across society, business and government – to change our course towards a nature-positive, net-zero and equitable future.”
Earth Hour is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative as a part of the project “Scaling up Biodiversity Communication.”