Power down for an hour this Saturday at 8:30 p.m., for Earth Hour 2020. (Contributed)

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Earth Hour 2020 will go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic but action will take place online.

On March 28, people around the world will participate in the World Wildlife Foundation’s (WWF) 13th annual global Earth Hour movement which sees participants voluntarily shut off their electricity from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time.

The symbolic action of powering down for one hour every year aims to mobilize individuals, businesses and governments to protect the planet and its inhabitants.

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In a post on the Earth Hour website, organizers explained that “given the unprecedented circumstances, the team is advising that Earth Hour [be] celebrated digitally this year” as large gatherings are being discouraged in many countries around the world. Participants are asked to closely follow their nation’s health guidelines.

Earth Hour organizers acknowledge the severity of the pandemic and feel that this is an important time to safeguard the planet in creative ways.

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“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives from the COVID-19 outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones or who are sick,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, in a written statement. “In this hour of crisis, we need to unite now more than ever to safeguard our future and the future of our planet.”

Participants are encouraged to find unique ways to participate in the hour-long event – from switching off power at home to joining an Earth Hour livestream to taking to social media to share information or sign the virtual Voice for the Planet petition which currently has more than 334,000 signatures. Organizers have also created special Earth Hour photo filters and Tik Tok challenges including #FlipTheSwitch and #DanceForThePlanet.

READ ALSO: Will you turn off your lights for Earth Hour?

In a written statement in support of Earth Hour, young climate activist Greta Thunberg explained that “the need to unite and protect our planet has never been greater.” She asks that the global community come together virtually for Earth Hour in light of the ongoing pandemic and “renew our commitment to the planet and use our voices to drive action online safely and responsibly.”

Since the Earth Hour movement began in Australia in 2007, sustainability actions have been taken around the world including the installation of solar-powered lights in three villages in India that have no electricity, the distribution of thousands of wood-saving stoves to families in Madagascar and the passing of a bill in Argentina to create a 3.4 million-hectare marine protected area.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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