Earth Hour 2021 to unite millions around the world to spotlight the link between the pandemic and nature loss

Earth Hour 2021 to unite millions around the world to spotlight the link between the pandemic and nature loss

Image courtesy of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

On Saturday, 27 March at 8:30 p.m. (your local time), Earth Hour will unite individuals, businesses and leaders from all over the world to shine a spotlight on the health of the planet.

It seeks to raise awareness on the importance of nature and inspire action for a brighter future for nature and people. With COVID-19 safety regulations continuing in several parts of the world, many countries will be celebrating Earth Hour online, mobilising millions of people from across the globe to speak up for nature. 

Traditionally, global skylines have gone dark and millions of individuals have turned off their lights for Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture to their commitment to preserving our planet.

Many iconic landmarks including the Eiffel Tower; Tokyo Skytree; Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour; 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; Sydney Opera House; Niagara Falls; Taipei 101; and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore will be switching off their lights in a symbolic gesture of support on the night of Earth Hour. 

Now, more than ever, we need to look internally to see how we can contribute to reversing nature loss and protect our planet.

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. 

”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. Protecting nature is our moral responsibility but losing it also increases our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerates climate change, and threatens our food security,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. 

“We must stop taking nature for granted, respect its intrinsic value, and, importantly, value the crucial services it provides to our health, well-being and economy. 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.” 

Time to be bold and ambitious

Pledging his support for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasised 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 will be participating in Earth Hour, calling for a safer, healthier future for all. 

The next decade (and beyond) is at stake

2021 presents an incredible opportunity to push world leaders into action. In a few months time, representatives from all over the globe will be attending the 15th meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China. 

The state of nature and biodiversity will be the focus for this conference, and global plans will be made for the next 10 years. There will be decisions that will affect not only the next decade, but our future and well-being for many years to come. With enough public support, this conference could be the conference where we secure an international commitment — signed by world leaders — to end nature loss and put our planet on the path to recovery by 2030.

By speaking up for nature this Earth Hour, we can put the spotlight on our planet and spark global conversations on the need for change, building momentum and a “domino effect” that directly influences the direction of this crucial United Nations Biodiversity Conference.  

Nature

Businesses and governments worldwide have a key role to play in building a healthy, sustainable future and planet for all. This Earth Hour, Business for Nature, a global coalition that brings together business and conservation organisations, 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 mobilise action. Leading companies recognise 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. 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.” 

Action

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. 

  • Uganda is partnering with the Scouts, social organisations and government agencies for Earth Hour to push for a total single-use plastic ban. They will also launch a Keep It Green and Clean campaign to organise 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 personalise their avatars and message to “speak up for nature” under three themes: biodiversity, plastic and climate change. 
  • Malaysia is organising a 10km Virtual Run from 27 March to 15 April 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 our oceans face from pollution, unsustainable fishing and unsustainable development. 
  • Singapore will launch a digital campaign to mobilise 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 footprint. 

Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight

Earth Hour has always drawn its power from the people. Though global circumstances are different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still have an incredible opportunity to make an impact.

In our daily shuffle, we can take for granted the many services nature provides: the beauty that inspires us and the resources that nurture us. Let’s take a moment to rediscover our wonder for the natural world and our gratitude for all it provides. Reconnecting to our curiosity and appreciation for nature can reinvigorate our environmental goals and the movement at large.

No matter where we are in the world, we can speak up for nature and bring global attention to the issues facing our planet.

Take a moment to reflect on what you can do for nature.

For more information, visit https://www.earthhour.org/.

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