On Saturday, 27 March at 8:30 p.m. local time, Earth Hour will unite individuals, businesses and leaders from all over the world to shine a spotlight on the health of the planet, raising awareness on the importance of nature and inspiring action for a brighter future for nature and people. With COVID-19 safety regulations continuing in several parts of the world, many countries will be celebrating Earth Hour online, mobilising millions of people from across the globe to speak up for nature.
As the lights dim in homes and cities, Earth Hour will bring people together to put a virtual spotlight on our planet and the role people can play in global efforts for nature.
With mounting evidence establishing a close link between nature's destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19, Earth Hour will be an unmissable opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of nature, in a year when leaders will take key decisions on nature, climate change and sustainable development.
''Whether it is a decline in pollinators, fewer fish in the ocean and rivers, disappearing forests or the wider loss of biodiversity, the evidence is mounting that nature is in free fall. And this is because of the way we live our lives and run our economies. Protecting nature is our moral responsibility but losing it also increases our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerates climate change, and threatens our food security," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
"We must stop taking nature for granted, respect its intrinsic value, and - importantly - value the crucial services it provides to our health, wellbeing and economy. We need to unite and take urgent action now to set nature on the path to recovery and secure a nature-positive world, while supporting climate action. By acting for nature, we can all create a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world."
Also read: UN chief calls for end to war with nature
Renowned public figures, celebrities, youth organisations and businesses from across the globe will be supporting Earth Hour to draw attention to the nature and climate crises. Pledging his support for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized in a video message that now is the time to be bold and ambitious, and show the world we are determined to protect the one home we all share. In recognition of the critical role young people will play in creating a more sustainable world, many global youth groups including Fridays For Future, AIESEC, United Nations Global Youth Biodiversity Network, Global Scouts, YMCA, and Global Youth Action Team will be participating in Earth Hour calling for a safer, healthier future for all.
Businesses and governments worldwide have a key role to play in building a healthy, sustainable future – and planet – for all. This Earth Hour, Business for Nature, a global coalition that brings together business and conservation organizations, will be calling on governments to urgently adopt policies for reversing nature loss by the end of the decade.
Eva Zabey, Executive Director, Business for Nature, said: "COVID-19 has given us a stark warning of the risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities of our interconnected systems – and what’s at stake for everyone if we cannot mobilize action. Leading companies recognize they need to act now to both cut greenhouse gas emissions and reverse nature loss by 2030. Earth Hour is taking place during a critical year, when world leaders are due to agree an ambitious global agreement on nature. Let us use this symbolic moment to think about how we work together - across society, business and government - to change our course towards a nature-positive, net-zero and equitable future."
Many iconic landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Skytree, Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the Colosseum in Rome, Rova of Antananarivo in Madagascar, UAP Old Mutual Tower in Nairobi, Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, Taipei 101 and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore will be switching off their lights in a symbolic gesture of support on the night of Earth Hour.
This year is set to be another important moment for the Earth Hour movement, with more than 140 countries and territories coming together to highlight and invite action on the environmental issues most relevant to them.