Did you even know about Earth Hour?

So, last Saturday was the WWF #Earthhourday, when individuals, building owners and even cities around the globe were encouraged to turn all lights off for an hour to highlight our need to save energy.

This year’s event saw famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, the Acropolis, the Colosseum, the Kremlin and Sydney Opera House, encased in darkness for an hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

Starting in 2007 in Australia, this global campaign is an attempt to raise awareness about the impact of climate change and now, according to organisers, is observed in over 180 of countries.

But did anyone really notice? And was anyone really listening?

This is seen as a symbol of unity and a symbol of hope

Russell Jones Russell Jones Content and communications manager

Quick turn the lights off

I must confess that I had forgotten about this year’s #EarthHourday until it was being talked about on Twitter.

At the time I was on a train home from a day out in London, so unable to get near my light switches.

My family were also less than impressed when I phoned them to tell them they should sit in darkness for an hour!

But at least it enabled us to have a conversation about what we as individuals can do to make a difference and this for me is the whole point of the event.

Yes, I personally wasn’t aware of this but I certainly am now and I’ve already signed up to make sure I don’t miss it next year.

The need for action

According to the earthhour website, the event was celebrated in 188 countries and territories this year with #earthhour and #connect2earth receiving over 2 billion impressions and trending in 26 countries.

So it is a growing thing, which cannot be bad.

The point of the event is to raise awareness of our impact on nature and the environment, with individuals encouraged to pledge their support for the planet, and challenge their leaders to push the preservation of nature up the global agenda.

According to the website, everyone across the globe is encouraged to celebrate Earth Hour and take just one iconic action: switch off the lights.

This is seen as a symbol of unity and a symbol of hope, as well as highlighting the power of collective action for nature.

And this power is not to be underestimated. It is easy to think that the challenge is so great that one individual cannot possibly make a difference.

Tell that to Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl who has started her own global movement, going on strike from school every Friday to raise awareness of the need to urgently do something.

She has now spoken at events such as the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland and is being spoken of as a possible contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thanks Sydney

This grass roots movement started as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney and has now inspired millions of people to take action for our planet and nature.

We have written before on The Hub about how the accelerating pace of climate change and touched on the urgent loss of biodiversity threatens our planet.

The aim is to raise awareness and get people to start never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature and the urgent need to protect it.

The site is well worth a visit and contains useful information and toolkits on getting involved and shows you what you can do as an individual or what you can do collectively with schools and youth groups.

So, sign up like I have and next year on March 28 2020, we can all boost the numbers and create even more awareness. 

Russell Jones is content and communications manager for Mitsubishi Electric's Living Environment Systems in the UK