Millions Unite Online Making Earth Hour 2020 One of the Largest Virtual Movements for the Environment
Posted on 02 April 2020
When the whole world proved that nothing can silence the call to protect nature & people“The success of this year's Earth Hour is a testimony to the incredible human spirit and the power of collective action. At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented challenge in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, the need to unite and make our voices heard for a more harmonious relationship with the planet has never been greater. People from across the globe responded to this call for action by coming out in support for protecting the planet, and inspiring others to commit to halting nature loss with innovative online campaigns and events. I truly applaud their unflinching commitment for a sustainable future. As Earth Hour 2020 comes to a close, I urge you all to continue to work in solidarity with each other to safeguard the future of our planet. Let's look after one another and our one shared home.'' - Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International
29 March 2020 - Global leaders, celebrities, individuals and businesses from 190 countries and territories came together on Saturday, 28th March, to lend their support for the planet. A people-led movement, Earth Hour 2020 beautifully exemplified the resilience of the human spirit amid a crisis. At a time when people across the globe are battling a health crisis of an unforeseen scale, and many countries are under complete lockdown, supporters rose to the challenge of marking Earth Hour with online events. Earth Hour 2020 generated over 3 billion social media impressions globally, making it one of the most successful online events in its history.
With nature loss continuing unabated, Earth Hour 2020 drew attention to the immediate need to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 in order to protect our own health as well as the planet's. In practice, this includes shutting down the illegal wildlife trade. WWF, its partners and grassroots communities spread this message in a record 190 countries and territories – and given the current global health crisis, exclusively through digital channels. WWF Central and Eastern Europe national member offices did their part:
WWF-Hungary launched a 10-day social media challenge starting on Earth Hour asking people to make a commitment to nature, and to tell them what they are going to change in their lives for good when the current situation comes to an end. A number of celebrities and influencers such as actress Laura Döbrösi, vegan chef Kristóf Steiner, and Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony publically encouraged their friends and followers via social media to participate.
WWF-Slovakia launched a social media #TogetherInNature challenge to help us virtually connect to nature. Being out in nature and with people are some of the things we are missing the most, but at least we can connect with many of our loved ones digitally. This is not so easy with nature. The campaign spread positive emotions and boosted social interactions by talking about and sharing their last photos in nature with families, friends and colleagues.
WWF-Ukraine used Earth Hour to encourage changes in personal habits that can help halt biodiversity and habitat loss, and restore nature. A number of corporations and influencers joined the Earth Hour campaign and helped to create a “digital wave” of support for a New Deal for Nature and People.
WWF-Romania reminded everyone that the core of the movement is #togetherpossible. In order to help people feel less alone, less isolated while they #stayhome, and encourage them to participate in this landmark event, finalist of The Voice – Romania Dora Gaitanovici, and the band Rockabella performed live from their living rooms. The film "American Parks" was premiered with an online guided tour of 11 US national parks in a quest to find out how nature conservation began in the US, and what can be learned from their protected areas. Actress Monica Davidescu read children's stories by candlelight, and Minister of Environment Costel Alexe supported the movement on his official Facebook page.
WWF-Bulgaria’s digital Earth Hour focused on the importance of forests, particularly riparian forests, and their key role in managing climate change, flood prevention, improving water quality and providing important green corridors and wildlife habitats. Bulgaria’s Eurovision representative Viktoria Georgieva was the main ambassador live streamed music for the Earth. Other performers included Boyana Zhelyazkova, Giorgia Cugia, Laura Hoo, Polina Antonova, Shane Ó Fearghail, Aklea Neon, and Vicky Halo.
Earth Hour was an opportunity for us to reflect and talk about the relationship between the planet and humankind. During this Earth Hour, we asked people to use this time of darkness to think about how we can switch back on the lights for our civilization and live in harmony with the rest of nature. During the following days, please help each other while helping the planet! Most importantly, speak to your family and friends about the future of our planet. How will you change your behaviour post-Covid19 that will have a positive impact on the planet?
While Earth Hour’s symbolic lights-off action mostly took place in countless homes this year, popular landmarks such as the official residence of the Romanian President (Cotroceni Palace), the National Bank and UNESCO World Heritage Site Spis Castle in Slovakia, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Tokyo Skytree, Brandenburg Gate, the Colosseum in Rome, Taipei 101, Beijing National Stadium, the Ali Qapu Palace, the Hellenic Parliament in Greece, Panama Canal, Moscow Kremlin, Tower Bridge in London and many more still went dark to show solidarity with the rest of the world.
Many renowned public figures, environmental activists, and celebrities from across the globe supported Earth Hour 2020 to draw attention to the nature and climate crises: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Pope Francis, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau; Indian film stars Amitabh Bachchan, UN Environment Goodwill ambassador Dia Mirza, Kenyan singing sensation Nikita Kering, Colombian model Claudia Bahamon, and British Singer-Songwriter, Cat Stevens were among the many public personalities who participated. These are just a few examples showing the power of Earth Hour to bring people together in the midst of growing threats to our planet and our own survival.
The evidence of the risks facing our society, and all life on Earth, has never been greater. It is imperative that we change to be more sustainable in the way we fuel our economies, grow and harvest our food, and live our lives. The price of not doing so is enormous, but so are the opportunities, so we must choose wisely. Help WWF achieve its ambition for a New Deal for Nature and People and create a safer, fairer, and healthier future for present and future generations.
- ZERO loss of natural habitats;
- HALVE the ecological footprint of production and consumption; and
- ZERO human-induced extinction by 2030.
Show your support and help us make the New Deal for Nature and People a reality and
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About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is WWF's flagship global environmental movement. Born in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organisations in more than 180 countries and territories to take tangible environmental action for over a decade. Historically, Earth Hour has focused on the climate crisis, but more recently, Earth Hour has strived to also bring the pressing issue of nature loss to the fore. The aim is to create an unstoppable movement for nature, as it did when the world came together to tackle climate change. The movement recognises the role of individuals in creating solutions to the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and harnesses the collective power of its millions of supporters to drive change.