BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — As the clock ticks down to Earth Hour on March 24, grassroots activists are taking to the Web, joining a global conversation about the value of biodiversity and nature on the Connect2Earth interactive website, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Each year, since the symbolic annual Earth Hour event was first launched in Sydney in 2007, the plea has gone out worldwide for people to spontaneously turn their lights out for an hour at 8:30 p.m. local time to save energy and raise awareness about environmental concerns. Online, grassroots supporters and participants have used the #EarthHour hashtag to share ideas and exchange views.
This year, the #Connect2Earth hashtag is taking flight, aiming to build mass awareness by kick-starting global conversations on issues such as climate action, healthy oceans and sustainable business.
“Biodiversity and nature underpin our lives, our economies, our health, our well-being, our happiness,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International. “It is the foundation of our living planet. Today, as we push the planet and its natural systems to the edge, Earth Hour is our chance to use our power, as individuals and as a collective, to demand and take action to protect this web of life in return for all it gives us. For the benefit of all life on Earth and of our own future.”
Earth Hour is now celebrated in more than 180 countries and territories, according to WWF, which coordinates the event to generate support for action on behalf of nature and biodiversity. The #EarthHour hashtag and related terms last year generated over 3.5 billion impressions in the run up to Earth Hour, trending in at least 30 countries worldwide on the night, the organization said.
The Connect2Earth website, jointly created by WWF in collaboration the secretariat of the U.N. Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), and supported by Germany’s ministry of the environment (BMUB) with funding from the International Climate Initiative, aims to build mass awareness about environmental concerns.
“Earth Hour is a testament to the power of a simple idea to inspire people to take action to protect the Earth,” said Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD executive secretary. “As we take an hour to reflect on the vital role that biodiversity and nature play in our lives, let this be the spark that galvanises action for transformation to a more sustainable future.”
The movement has helped in the creation of a 3.4 million hectare marine-protected area in Argentina, a 2,700-hectare Earth Hour forest in Uganda and helped pass new legislation for the protection of seas and forests in Russia, WWF reports.