IN the last one year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on, it has rapidly snowballed from a health emergency to an economic and societal one. Scientists have said this emergency is caused by our destruction of nature which has resulted in catastrophic weather events, locusts plague, wildfires, and the coronavirus. To begin repairing the damage, participate in today’s Earth Hour, starting at 8.30pm – a global movement to give nature the chance to bounce back.

A global tragedy – our own doing

Environment changes and epidemics are the likely result of human actions and interferences. Many scientists and researchers have blamed uncontrolled human activity for the crossover of disease between species that led to the spread of Coronavirus in humans. It is our indifference to nature, our encroachment into the wilderness and our disregard for wildlife that caused this pandemic in the first place.

Urbanisation and habitat fragmentation have disrupted the balance between species, pushing disease-carrying animals into new territory and in close contact with humans. The exponential growth of the human population, near absolute use of the planet’s resources, destruction of natural ecosystems, and global warming have pushed us to a point of crisis. 

Collective action for a positive impact
At so many levels, our struggle against the virus has been a period of insurmountable loss, deep anxiety and an all-embracing uncertainty. And yet, there have been silver linings and positive outcomes. The world coming to a halt gave us time to reflect on how our actions impact our lives and the planet’s future.

Sustainable living gained momentum as people across the world dramatically altered their lifestyles during the extended lockdowns and thereafter to ‘stay safe’. The behavioural and consumption shifts that followed, such as decreased long-distance travel, work from home, reduced shopping, etc, have been likened to a massive sustainability experiment.

This pandemic has also revealed the extent to which we are all interconnected and interdependent. No action is an isolated one anymore; what affects some also impacts all. The deadly Coronavirus spares none. Essentially, we are all in it together and working collectively is the only option to ensure everyone is protected from the virus.

Beyond the immediate response to this epidemic, we ought to think about our relationship with natural ecosystems. Let’s continue the momentum and take collective action to address our responsibility to reverse environmental damage and climate change not just during Earth Hour but as a way of life. 

Earth Hour 2021 – Speak up for Nature
Earth Hour, organised by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), is a global grassroots movement uniting people across all countries to take action on environmental issues and protect our planet. Engaging a massive mainstream community, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights out event in 2007 and has continued thereafter, drawing its power from the people. It serves as a symbolic call for efforts to tackle climate change and not an energy or carbon reducing exercise.

This year, with Covid-19 still raging, WWF is taking a different approach for Earth Hour and going digital. Instead of gathering with like-minded people in a public space to show support for the planet, do it from the comfort of your own home. The DNA of the Earth Hour movement is to switch off your lights for an hour.

So today, Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm your local time, switch off your lights for 60 minutes to show you care and speak up for nature. Make it an exciting hour to spend to think of all kinds of games you can play – either virtually or at home with family by candlelight! This is a symbolic gesture but your active support is an acknowledgement of the need to take collective action to change climate change.
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