For an hour on the last Saturday in March each year the lights go out in more than 7 000 cities around the world – for Earth Hour
What was started in 2007 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Australia as a “switch off” of all non-essential electrical appliances to save energy, has grown into a much more powerful movement to unite people to protect our precious planet. More than a decade on, Earth Hour mobilises hundreds of millions of people around the world to create a positive environmental impact, using the power of the crowd to draw attention to key environmental issues such as climate change, and more recently, biodiversity loss.
These are two sides of the same ecological coin. Climate change triggers impacts such as drought, disrupted food production and ocean warming. Biodiversity loss, in turn, can accelerate climate change impacts. Deforestation, for example, now accounts for close to
a fifth of global CO2 emissions.
What many of us don’t realise is the dangerous consequences environmental degradation has for humanity. Nature underpins our health, wellbeing and prosperity, including our access to clean air, water and food. If we push natural systems beyond the point of no return, we are putting ourselves and our future at risk.
As Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, observed at the time of the release of WWF’s most recent Living Planet Report: “We urgently need to rethink how we use and value nature – culturally, economically and on our political agendas. We need to think of nature as beautiful and inspirational, but also as indispensable. We – and the planet – need a new global deal for nature
and people now.”
Earth Hour takes place on 30 March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time and the international focus this year will be on reconnecting people with nature.
Join in an Earth Hour Adventure with your kids
Get into the spirit of Earth Hour with your family and take part in an orienteering-style ‘adventure dash’ suitable for all ages in one of our beautiful national botanical gardens. WWF is hosting Earth Hour Adventure events at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Johannesburg and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, starting from 6pm on Saturday, 30 March.
During the event you will navigate your way by torchlight (a headlamp is ideal) to hidden check points dotted across a 5km course in the gardens. After all the action you will be encouraged to spread your picnic blanket and enjoy live entertainment under the stars while basking in the afterglow of some fun exercise and the knowledge that you are doing your bit for nature.
The Earth Hour Adventure is a fundraiser for WWF South Africa. Tickets will cost R180 per adult and R100 per child, and will be sold through Quicket (quicket.co.za).
You too can give WWF wings
A great way to support the wonderful work of WWF South Africa is to donate your SAA Voyager miles. Donating your miles is easy:
1. Log into your Voyager account at flysaa.com.
2. Choose Voyager Shopping, and select Donate Miles.
3. Under Target Account, select WWF and make your donation.
This is a giving strategy that enables you, as a Voyager member, to assist WWF South Africa in working towards its conservation goals, freeing up valuable organisational resources to be ploughed directly into environmental work.