Earth Hour is a global movement in which millions of people across the planet switch off their non-essential lights for one hour in order to promote positive environmental change. This year it will take place on 25 March from 20:30 to 21:30 Central African Time.
This initiative, in its 10th year, is more than merely a token effort for one hour – it is a campaign for climate action. Donations sparked by the movement have helped fund WWF (World Wildlife Fund) projects around the globe. Some of these include providing communities with climate-smart boats after Typhoon Haiyan, and bringing solar power to a num
ber of families in India, Nepal and Madagascar.
Furthermore, advocates for Earth Hour in several countries have assisted in the implementation of climate-friendly laws and policies. One example is the banning of plastic at the World Heritage site in the Galapagos Islands. The
Galapagos Islands are home to unique species, such as the Galapagos Tortoise, and the increased use of plastic in the area has threatened the existence of these rare animals.
As part of the Earth Hour campaign, WWF South Africa is asking you to lend your power. It is vital for Eskom and other energy companies to embrace renewable energy. Renewable energy allows the efficient production of energy to replace the use of coal, a fossil fuel that contributes to carbon emissions and is rapidly depleting. In addition, renewable energy means a safer environment for communities surrounding mines, where po
llution-related health issues are a severe issue.
Earth Hour does not have to be the beginning and the end. You can easily implement small changes to green your everyday routine. For example, switching off lights and geysers when they are not in use, buying energy-saving light bulbs, or using a fan instead of air-conditioning can all help to minimise your carbon footprint.
However, if you are looking for more ways to help during this year’s Earth Hour, you can sign the petition at http://earthhour.org.za/petition/. This is primarily to encourage Eskom to recognise the need for renewable energy and secondly, to stand in solidarity with activists all over the world who are standing up for the environment and humanity in the fight against climate change.
Words by Katie Matooane