Earth Hour, organised by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has become an annual event seeking to draw attention to mankind’s impact on the environment as finite resources continue to be used up at an unsustainable pace and the ever widening search for more raw materials causes what may be irreversible changes in the natural habitats of many species.
The Earth Hour movement was born in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when an estimated 2.2 million people switched off their lights for an hour. With Sydney in darkness, the idea was to raise awareness about excessive electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Five years on, Earth Hour has become an international event for the WWF
. In 2011, more than 4000 cities in 126 countries participated in Earth Hour
. This involved hundreds of millions of people ‘switching off’ for one hour.
In 2012, here in France, the slogan for Earth Hour
is “Eteignez vos lumières, allumez vos consciences!", meaning “Put out the lights, open (shine a light on) your minds!” and many internationally renowned buildings and structures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre art gallery and Notre Dame cathedral in Paris will be plunged into darkness at half past eight local time on the evening of Saturday 31st March. Elsewhere, at the same local time, the light will go out at landmarks like the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Empire State Building in New York and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
The WWF doesn’t pretend that Earth Hour itself will solve the problem of mankind’s increasing demands for resources. Rather, the idea is to ask people to consider their energy consumption, to make it a norm of their everyday lives with the realisation that everyone making small gestures can have a global impact.
Even if you are a climate change sceptic or non-believer, the thinking behind Earth Hour still makes sense as what is unarguable is that Earth’s resources are finite and, whether its oil or rare earths, ultimately they will become more and more difficult to exploit and will eventually be exhausted unless humanity changes the way it thinks.
So, please, on Saturday evening, do think about our Earth– even if it’s just for an hour.
Do you really need ALL those light on? Is it really necessary to leave all the computers, mobile phones and gadgets on standby or on charge overnight?
Switch off, step outside, gaze upwards – if it’s a clear sky you’ll still be able to see a wonderful conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
in western skies – think about our planet, for a little while, at least.