Is Earth Hour effective and why are we participating?

Author: Heide Hackworth   Date Posted:25 March 2021 

Earth Hour is an annual event organised by the World Wildlife Fund, where participants are asked to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday 27th of March at 8.30PM as a symbolic gesture to their commitment to preserving our planet. Many go further, in turning off all electrical devices in their home or business.

This year, WWF have taken a different approach, and invited participants to go one step further, to "take a moment to rediscover our wonder for the natural world and our gratitude for all it provides" - by hosting a guided meditation.

Critics of Earth Hour say that it is not effective in reducing pollution, because power stations actually experience a brief surge in electricity when the collective power comes back on. Additionally, there is concern that this event simplifies what is a complex issue, or puts the onus too much on individual actions when systemic change is what is really needed to reduce climate pollution.

Despite the negativity of some, I tend to agree with the WWF in recognising that "reconnecting to our curiosity and appreciation for nature can reinvigorate our environmental goals and the movement at large".

In my own moments of solitude on long bush walks or quiet evening meditations, I have often experienced calm, wonder and gratitude for nature float to the forefront of my busy monkey-mind. After a day spent in front of glowing devices, coming back to nature, whether it's physically or in a quiet mental state, brings me back to my own humanity.

Gratitude is the best reason I can find to celebrate Earth Hour. One hour of switching off - symbolically, practically, and mentally - is an important gift we can all give back to our beautiful and fragile planet, a collective reminder of what is at stake, and motivation to protect it.

In a year that has seen both catastrophic bushfires and floods, the impact of human induced climate change is being felt in Australia like never before. We can't just turn away, and rely on systems to change.

By joining millions around the world to make the #SwitchforNature by turning off lights and devices for one hour, we are holding the planet to our hearts to say to her and to each other: "We have not given up, and there is still hope."

For the cynics - I'd say that is much better than doing nothing at all.

Will you join us? Register to participate here: www.earthhour.org.au/


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