WWF’s Earth Hour took place on Saturday was the biggest Earth Hour celebration to date.
The idea for Earth Hour is simple; millions of people from across the world turn off their lights and come together for one hour to support action on climate change.
From Madrid to Malaysia, New York to Uganda, the lights went out on over 3,000 famous landmarks in 187 countries. This act alone directly reduced the earth’s carbon footprint, energy consumption and levels of light pollution (read more about the impacts of light pollution here!). But these people didn’t just commit to turning off their lights, they committed to actively pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle and protecting the future of our planet.
Each year, WWFs Earth Hour is a small victory for the natural world.
‘Switch off the lights, switch on the future’
This year my lovely friend and co-author for the Wild Lives series, Jo Foo, travelled to Madrid to catch the Earth Hour celebrations (I was very jealous). She watched as hundreds of people gathered in the Palacio to watch the eco-light display powered by bicycles! Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the event was seeing the number of children excited by the display and passionate about saving the planet.
As clichéd as it sounds, children really are the future (Whitney Huston was right after all!). They will be the ones to face the issue of climate change and watch as more of our beloved species go extinct. Unless we teach them about the effects of climate change on our planet, they will not know the importance of protecting it.
“It was definitely good fun to head down to the Palacio and see the lights go out in support of such a great cause. A reminder to think of simple, easy ways for us to take better care of our neglected planet!” – Jo Foo
It has now been the hottest year on record for three years running and almost 1 in 6 species are at risk of extinction from climate change. The problem is not just that the earth is getting warmer, it is that our climate is changing alarmingly fast. Species do not have time to move and if they stay and cannot adapt, they risk extinction. And it isn’t just animals who suffer, people across the world are negatively affected by climate change. Droughts causing famine, flooding destroying homes or warmer temperatures spreading disease – these events and many more make life on earth increasingly difficult in the face of climate change.
Last year, 97% of active climate scientists said they agreed that humans were directly responsible for climate change. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002
This view is shared by the National Academies of Science from over 80 countries across the globe.
Time to Take Action
Now is the time to show we care and act on climate change.
With the COP21 agreement signed last year and new goals for the UK’s Climate Act, we have strong foundations for positive change. Now all we need to do is act on it. We can all start making small changes to reduce our carbon emissions, live more sustainably and even give a small donation to charities like the WWF which help save endangered species.
If we all do one small act for our planet, it will create a wave of change.
Earth Hour may be over for another year, but you can still do your bit for the WWF. You can fundraise and support their work to tackle climate change and protect endangered species; you can adopt an endangered species from just £3 a month, or you can become a member and receive brilliant information about all the work you are helping to support.
See how the UK celebrated Earth Hour using the hashtag #earthhouruk.
AND see all the articles in the Wild Lives series over at Jo’s blog.