Earth Hour is approaching for the 10th time on Saturday 19 March. I remember my first Earth Hour. My family and I spent it playing board games and chatting. It was so freeing to switch the lights off, unplug the appliances, and light some candles (though it must be said that a lot of candles are needed to light up a home in Sweden at that time of year). Earth Hour provides a breather from all the information we receive everyday and it gives us a chance to talk to those we hold dear without being interrupted by social media notifications, emails etc.
This one simple reason should be reason enough for people to happily switch off this Earth Hour. But it’s also bigger than that (it’s always bigger than that). Two words; climate change. The past year I have been campaigning for climate action and awareness in South Africa. It all culminated with COP21 and the Paris Agreement last December. The Paris Agreement is a political success as it brought together 195 nations to acknowledge climate change and that something needs to be done about it. But the Paris Agreement is not a perfect agreement, and to stay well below a 2˚C rise in average global temperatures, we need to take urgent action now and not after 2020 when the Paris Agreement will come into effect. It should be noted that the climate change pledges submitted by the world’s nations before COP21 could bring us to a 3˚C average global temperature increase.
Therefore, we as civil society and concerned citizens will have to show our leaders the way to take further action towards curbing climate change. We have to show our support by taking action in our daily lives to reduce our carbon footprints and to support our neighbours in doing the same. We have a great chance to show where we stand what we stand for this Earth Hour and all we have to do is turn off our lights and appliances. Lights and appliances that need electricity to function and this electricity comes, often, from fossil fuels. We need to show leaders that we want clean energy sources and that the time to phase out fossil fuels is sooner rather than later.
So, on Saturday, invite your friends, family, partners, strangers invite whoever you want and enjoy hanging out in the dark for an important cause. Let’s face it, if Leonardo DiCaprio could use his 90 second long Oscar speech to highlight the need for action on Climate Change, so can you by taking climate action using one hour on a Saturday evening just by sitting in the dark with your phone switched off. Together we can #ChangeClimateChange.
Click here to read more about Earth Hour.
Elin Ström is from Sweden, she is currently living in Johannesburg and volunteering for the African Climate Reality Project.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do necessarily represent the views of the African Climate Reality Project.