Saturday, March 19, 2016

Earth Hour 2016: A Global Celebration and Call to Climate Action

Earth Hour will take place between 8:30 and 9:30 local time on Saturday March 19, 2016. This year Earth Hour celebrates its 10th anniversary and people in more than 170 countries and more than 7000 cities and towns are expected to participate.

This annual event calls individuals, households, communities and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for an hour as a symbolic gesture to call attention to the environmental stewardship and climate action throughout the year.

Earth Hour offers a global message that individuals and business care about addressing environmental challenges. It also sends a strong message to governments, showing that many communities around the world are aware of the challenges faced by the planet and want action to be taken in order to create a more sustainable world.

This year's theme is: Protecting the places we love. We are encouraged to consider the places you love and what impact climate change is having and will have on may of those places.

Earth Hour has helped to galvanize public opinion. As explained on the Earth Hour website, "Changing climate change starts with us, here today."

People, governments and organizations all around the world have launched a broad array of Earth Hour activities. In previous years Uganda started the world's first Earth Hour forest; Argentina used its Earth Hour campaign to help pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million-hectare marine protected area; Solar-powered lights have been installed in Indian villages without electricity; More than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their forests and seas.

This year's Earth Hour takes place against the backdrop of the global climate agreement that was signed in Paris at the end of last year. While the positive outcome at COP21 gives us reason to be optimistic there is so much that remains to be done. As explained by the WWF, "the time for climate action has only just begun."

Mindful of the outcome at COP21, Oman will join nations across the world to mark Earth Hour. The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has urged people to switch off all non-essential lights during this hour.

Lamees Daar, executive director of ESO, said:

"Colleges and universities in Oman have pledged to join the cause. From warming oceans to extinct species and natural disasters, global warming is a reality that mankind is facing every day. The world has made history by adopting the landmark COP21 agreement. We must now unite again to preserve the environment for future generations. After all, if we do not act, who will?"

Bangkok officials have urged residents to switch the lights off at their homes for one hour on Saturday night. While these efforts are primarily about raising awareness and auguring climate action throughout the year, they also save energy. Last year Bangkok saved 1,940 megawatts of electricity during the Earth Hour, which accounted for nine percent of the total electricity saved. Egypt's participation over the past years in the initiative has lead to a decrease in the consumption of power of about 100 megawatts, which is equivalent to the power generated by two small generating plants.

Earth Hour should not be seen as an end in itself but as the key driver of a larger movement to protect the planet. There is a large range of initiatives that people can join to make their participation count even more.

For more information go to

#ChangeClimateChange #earthhour 

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