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Earth Hour: Shining a light on climate change

Every year for one hour the world makes a pledge to turn the lights out, completely. Seemingly a small step, will it catalyst climate change action and save our planet? It just might.

Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), known as the World Wildlife Fund in Canada, this year’s Earth Hour will take place March 19 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

Growing to be one of the largest movements for climate change in the world, Earth Hour makes a significant impact in shedding light on the need for climate change action in the world.

It is estimated that in 2015, 172 countries and territories participated. More than 10,400 iconic landmarks around the world switched their lights, including the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Empire State Building in New York and Niagara Falls. After last year, six countries are working to make substantial legislative changes, and many millions of people learn about climate change and Earth Hour via social media.

Contrary to what some might believe, however, the main objective of Earth Hour is to serve as a platform to catalyst climate change action in the world, like tackling issues related to sustainable food and agriculture or renewable energy.

“Building on this momentum, WWF’s Earth Hour once again leveraged its massive reach and millions of supporters to spark concrete action on climate in 2015. From online crowdfunding for climate and conservation projects to locally- relevant climate campaigns and school/community outreach programmes across seven continents, Earth Hour teams around the world led initiatives to drive public awareness and action on key climate issues,” said the foundation’s website.

Some of last year’s highlights included encouraging support to change local policies on deforestation in Uganda, a ten-year freeze on new oil projects in the Arctic, the creation of a national park in Malaysia, reduction in energy usage in Brunei Darussalam and stronger climate change legislation in Scotland and Switzerland.

Over the years some of the achievements of WWF’s Earth Hour include WWF Uganda starting the world’s first Earth Hour Forest, Argentina passing a senate bill for a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area in the country and thousands of LED lights installed by girls scouts in the U.S.

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia to unite people and deliver a strong message to the “then climate-sceptic government” that climate change was a real issue and Australians cared about it.

To learn more about Earth Hour and how you can contribute visit www.earthhour.org.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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