Today, at 8.30 PM local time, millions will switch off their lights to mark Earth Hour 2020, a symbolic gesture for our ailing planet, that is now a much anticipated annual event on the environment calendar. This will be the first ever Earth Hour to be commemorated completely online.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, Earth Hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite and organise events digitally. WWF’s flagship global environmental movement, Earth Hour was started in Sydney in the year 2007. It has rapidly grown into one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment. Earth Hour is now observed in more than 180 countries and territories.
“Earth Hour for me is every hour of every day. The need to unite and protect our planet has never been greater. As we have been asked to avoid public gatherings to slow the spreading of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), I recommend everyone to come together virtually for #EarthHour to renew our commitment to the planet and use our voices to drive action online safely and responsibly,” said teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg in a message.
Historically, Earth Hour has focused on the climate crisis, but more recently, Earth Hour has strived to also bring the pressing issue of nature loss to the fore. The aim is to create an unstoppable movement for nature, as it did when the world came together to tackle climate change. The movement recognizes the role of individuals in creating solutions to the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and harnesses the collective power of its millions of supporters to drive change.
“This Earth Hour, 28th March at 8:30pm, I urge you all to turn off the lights and use the hour to engage your online community to pledge support at Voice for the Planet. We must look after one another and the one home we all share. Stand with me and millions around the world to make this Earth Hour a moment to show your united presence. Let us raise our collective voices online to help ensure a cleaner, safer and greener future for everyone,” Greta said, in an appeal likely to motivate millions of followers despite the global lockdown.
With nature loss continuing unabated, Earth Hour 2020 draws attention to the immediate need for halting nature and biodiversity loss for our health and well-being. Earth Hour is an opportunity for us to reflect, think and talk about the relationship between the planet and humankind. We have the chance now to show empathy and think about how we can switch back on the lights for our civilization and live in harmony with the rest of nature.