On the last Saturday night in March, millions of people around the world switch off their lights and electronic devices for an hour. Earth Hour is once again near, and people are being encouraged to take this step in joining the movement to put an end to climate change.
Everyone can join Earth Hour by switching off their lights and electrical appliances. (Image: WWF South Africa)
South Africans are no strangers to darkness. But while Eskom’s load shedding forces us to turn to candles, on the last Saturday of every March people are encouraged to switch off the lights willingly.
More than 160 countries have thrown their weight behind Earth Hour, which is held each year on the last Saturday night in March. For South Africa, the hour runs from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on 28 March this year.
Founded in 2007, the Earth Hour movement “encourages hundreds of millions of people to voluntarily turn off their lights for an hour as a synchronised global gesture of concern about the devastating consequences of climate change, which are already affecting each and every one of us”.
This is the eighth consecutive year that South Africa is taking part in the initiative. All life is dependent on basics such as food, water, clean air and energy. But as temperatures rise around the globe and climate change takes hold, the Earth is less able to produce these life-giving elements.
The frightening consequences of climate change have prompted the Earth Hour movement to encourage everyone to participate:
Famous faces show support
Celebrities around the world have shown their support for Earth Hour. In South Africa, football player Phil Masinga and band Freshlyground, among others, have stood up for the movement on social media.
Although South Africa faces an energy crisis of its own, and the national electricity utility, Eskom, has implemented load shedding across the country, the WWF urges all people in the country to participate in Earth Hour
“Regardless of whether or not Eskom has turned off our lights, we will be marking the symbolic hour of darkness to show our support for a new energy plan that not only seeks to solve our energy problems but also to make inroads into our climate crisis,” said Saliem Fakir of WWF South Africa.
“The energy crisis in South Africa should not make us all raise our hands in total despair. Yes, we have to fix Eskom and ensure Eskom uses less coal in the future. Changing our energy profile away from coal dependence must be the biggest task before us.”
In a call to action worth bearing in mind, US President Barack Obama noted at the UN Climate Summit in 2014: “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”