The Earth Hour being celebrated at the Marasi Marina in Business Bay, Dubai in 2019.
Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: UAE residents can switch their lights off at 8:30pm next Saturday, March 27, to participate in Earth Hour, a global effort to create awareness about the environment and the need for actions to conserve it.

Emirates Nature-WWF, a non-profit organisation focusing on the environment, has also invited community members to join a series of virtual sessions on the day that encourage people to speak up for nature, and to share a video that spotlights the need for action.

Link to Nature

In a statement, Emirates Nature-WWF stressed on the close link between nature’s destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19. “The occurrence of several catastrophic incidents last year including extreme weather events, devastating wildfires and the COVID-19 outbreak highlighted that preventing nature loss is crucial for safeguarding our future. Earth Hour [therefore] marks a pivotal opportunity to Speak Up for Nature and set nature on a path to recovery by 2030,” the statement said.

“Along with dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, 2020 was also the year when nature and biodiversity rose to the top of the political and corporate agenda like never before, and when the interdependence of the nature, climate, and health crises was strongly recognised by UAE leadership. Earth Hour 2021 gives us a golden opportunity to join hand-in-hand and drive change together, as an active civil society, towards a green recovery for the UAE,” added Laila Abdullatif, Emirates Nature-WWF director general.

Virtual storytelling session

Before Earth Hour, Emirates Nature-WWF will host a virtual event titled ‘Let’s Speak Up for Nature on March 24, at 4:30pm. Invited speakers will share stories with the goal to uplift attendees, motivate them to make a difference, and most importantly drive them to embrace a more sustainable mindset.

Spotlight video

Emirates Nature-WWF has also called upon residents to become catalysts for change by participating online to raise awareness. To take part in the first-ever Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight event this year, the community is encouraged to share a must-watch global hero video through their social media accounts, which is set to go live by Emirates Nature-WWF and Earth Hour global teams as soon as all lights are switched off.

“Healthy natural ecosystems are the cornerstone of thriving, equitable and sustainable societies. Our current socioeconomic models are leading to the devastating destruction of nature, which is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerating climate change, and placing livelihoods at risk,” said Marco Lambertini, director general at WWF International.

Climate challenge

Resident can also sign up to the ‘Zero to Climate Hero’ challenge, where they will embark on a five-week journey that will empower guests with simple yet impactful tips to help reduce their carbon footprint and combat the climate crisis. By signing up to the challenge, participants will receive an email per week giving them the tips and tricks on how to play a role in combating climate change.

Change makers will also have the opportunity to speak up for nature. By joining the five-week programme, participants will become responsible global citizens by co-creating the blueprint for sustainable development in the UAE.

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