Our FutureEarth Hour turns on solidarity

By , 18/08/2019 10:50

Just like the tip of the iceberg, the annual Earth Hour, celebrated this year on March 24 is but a tiny temporal sliver of the far-reaching environmental and social impacts of the projects buoyed up by the Earth Hour pledges and donations.

This unique fund-raising activity began in Sydney in 2007 as a way of focusing on the effects of global warming and climate change, and is now a worldwide open source movement under the umbrella of the World Wildlife Federation.

Indeed more than 180 countries will turn off their lights in solidarity, and grassroots people like you and me will raise funds to protect the only planet we have.

In 2014, an alliance of organisations campaigned under Earth Hour’s banner to raise awareness of the impacts of disposable plastic bags in the Galapagos. By the end of the year, the government passed a resolution to ban plastic bags from the Islands. One day I hope that I can journey to see these animals made so famous by Charles Darwin.

However, the project that touched me most was the ongoing partnership with Solar Buddy. In 2017, Earth Hour collaborated with Solar Buddy to provide 500 portable lights to rural communities in Ethiopia.

Charged by the sun, they provide many hours of light to help students in-need with their studies, as well as replacing carbon-intensive kerosene lamps. In 2018, the program will support communities in Papua New Guinea.

I hope you turn off your lights for an hour from 8.30pm on Saturday in solidarity with the Earth and that you move your dollars in support, particularly in view of the recent devastation wreaked by the earthquakes in the PNG Highlands. An area so remote that villagers have to walk for two days to reach a made road.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of Newcastle

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