Earth Hour- In these uncertain times, nature can help sustain us. We must also sustain nature.
By Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature & People, WWF International
As the spread of Coronavirus brings self-isolation and social distancing for more and more of the world, many of us are turning to nature to reconnect, for exercise and for our emotional well-being. Our balconies, gardens, local parks and hills, even windows, offer some respite from the feeling of being trapped inside our homes, while we seek to maintain physical distance from others. This challenging time also raises some more fundamental questions to contemplate, such as how did humanity get to this point? Have we been taking the natural world — and its resilience — for granted?
Earth Hour is one of the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment where people are encouraged to show that #NatureMatters to them, to reflect on the role of nature as Earth’s life support system, and also take the steps they (and all of us) need to take in order to protect our planet. An hour of people’s time where they symbolically switch off the lights as part of awareness-raising around climate action and nature loss.
Since 2007, Earth Hour has helped bring environmental action from living rooms to conference rooms. It has played its part in engaging the general public in an exceedingly complex topic — an engagement that was essential to help drive the decision-makers to course correct for the sake of the people and planet.
But in recent years, the pressure on nature has grown more intense, it’s too urgent and important to ignore − we need world leaders to do the right thing and jointly address the nature and climate crises. It’s up to all of us to make sure they take action and are held to account.
As part of addressing the planet’s climate and nature emergencies, its time to put a stop to destroying our precious environment and begin to restore nature so it can keep providing us with essentials such as food, water, clean air and countless raw materials.
This year, as the world grapples with an unprecedented global health crisis, Earth Hour goes digital, highlighting the necessity for action on nature to help combat the climate crisis while also delivering multiple other benefits for people’s health, wellbeing, and livelihoods.
Climate change remains an enormous challenge for us all, and we cannot solve the climate crisis without action on nature; whilst nature loss is a driver of climate change, climate change is also a driver of nature loss. This cyclical threat means we must act now. We must come together to secure a carbon-neutral and nature positive world. As the dominant species on the planet, we have the moral responsibility to restore nature for all. This includes human prosperity and equity, addressing the climate and nature crises, and providing a healthy planet for future generations. We need to secure a New Deal for Nature and People that places nature on the path to recovery by 2030.
The science is clear, we are destabilizing our climate and pushing nature to the brink. We have already lost half of our forests and coral reefs, the impacts cannot be ignored as we have already felt the pain by experiencing amazon wildfires and Australia’s devastating bushfires recently.
These are exceptionally challenging times but together we can support each other and from this crisis, emerge stronger and better able to tackle global challenges. We will, in time, tackle COVID-19, and so we can also tackle the global climate and nature crises with similar resolve.
Whoever we are and wherever we live, from the air that we breathe to the water we drink to the food we eat and to the shelter we live in, nature provides the essentials we are all counting on for our survival and well being. We all need a stable climate and a healthy living planet to live in harmony with nature.
Time to raise your voice
Nobody can be in any doubt that the relationship between people and our planet is dangerously unbalanced. We are destroying the natural systems we depend on faster than they can replenish themselves, Nature provides us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. We depend on it to grow our crops, to source our medicines, to house us, and to clothe us. In doing so, it underpins our societies, our economics, and our physical well-being. For many, it’s also the premise for cultural identity and priceless spiritual value, helping us through crises such as COVID-19. We must act now to make an energized movement for nature and drive through a New Deal for Nature and People, as comprehensive, ambitious and science-based as the global climate deal agreed in Paris in 2015. One that includes ambitious targets to protect nature and species, and tackles our unsustainable consumption of nature.
Time is not on our side, we must see urgent action that sets our planet on a sustainable course. This Earth Hour, the world must rally behind the need for a New Deal for Nature and People. You can show your support by calling for action at Voice for the Planet — to rebalance our relationship with nature, and, by taking steps to safeguard our planet, such as switching off your lights when not in use, switching from plastic to reusable bags, and the many other small changes which can help make a big difference.
Please join me on Saturday 28th of March 2020 with the support of millions of individuals around the world as we take a moment to appreciate and act for nature that continues to sustain us through these challenging times.