Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour: Tangible Action Beyond the Symbolism

Earth Hour is about more than symbolic gestures designed to consolidate support for action on climate change. While the importance of bringing people together for environmental betterment cannot be overstated, Earth Hour also produces tangible benefits. The event is a catalyst for thousands of environmentally oriented actions and initiatives around the globe. From Africa to the Americas, businesses and governments are getting involved alongside millions of people all around the world.

Last year in the US, nearly 35,000 Girl Scouts led a Save Energy Project for Earth Hour. They installed 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs in homes and community centers, eliminating 77,553,119 pounds of CO2 emissions, the equivalent to the CO2 sequestration from planting 7,495 acres of trees per year.

This year WWF-Russia secured 100,000 signatures for their Earth Hour petition to protective forests, which may be a catalyst to reinstate a ban on industrial logging in sensitive areas.

In Botswana, former President Mr Festus Mogae has made a four-year commitment to plant one million indigenous trees as part of his ‘I Will If You Will’ challenge. This campaign has already planted 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern Botswana called Goodhope.

In Argentina, Earth Hour organizers and WWF affiliate Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina is mobilizing thousands of participants to help pass of a Senate bill to make Banco Burwood the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. If successful, the 3.4 million-hectare MPA will raise the level of protection of Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone from 1 percent to 4 percent.

In 2011, some of Singapore’s largest corporations took action for the planet by making an ongoing commitment to reduce their over reliance on air-conditioning. Initiated by WWF Singapore, the Earth Hour ’24 degrees or higher’ campaign called on businesses across the city-state to reduce their energy consumption by permanently setting the air-conditioning in their office buildings to 24 degrees Celsius. This action successfully involved some Singapore’s biggest corporations including Fullerton Heritage and real estate company, CapitaLand. CapitaLand also launched a “Wear Less Day” campaign the day before Earth Hour, encouraging staff and tenants to dress down for the temperature change to promote energy efficiency.

Whether reducing carbon through energy efficiency projects, planting trees or pressing political leaderships for environmental betterment, Earth Hour is making a difference.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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WWF's Earth Hour Playbook for Business
WWF's Earth Hour 2013: Why You Should be Part of It!

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