Earth Hour goes digital for first time in history due to COVID-19 pandemic
Beijing: The annual observation of Earth Hour in the night of the last Saturday of March held a special significance this year after it was observed digitally in various parts of the world due to the ongoing global health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The lights on major landmarks around the world are switched off for Earth Hour. An initiative, organised by the World Wildlife Fund since 2007, the Earth Hour invites people to think about how their lives and activities are affecting the planet.
On every last Saturday of March, if not Holy Saturday, individuals, communities, enterprises and government departments around the globe are encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour, with the purpose of inspiring reflections and actions regarding environmental issues.
At 8:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) on Saturday evening in Moscow, the facade lighting of the Kremlin was turned off and so was the external lighting of the Russian White House, as part of the global environmental event, Xinhua reported. Indonesia also joined the movement on Saturday evening but without traditional gatherings to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.
Awareness calling for serious efforts to slow down the global warming were relayed online.
"Through the participation in this Earth Hour and the voice for planet movement, we have helped world leaders make a decision to support improvement in the health sector and earth protection as well as the welfare for all the living things," said Lukas Adhyakso, acting CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, restaurants or museums were closed in Hungary. However, the lockdown did not stop people from joining the Earth Hour movement.
They do in a digital way too. WWF Hungary was encouraging people to announce what they would do differently in their lives to protect nature and sustainability when life returns to normal, and share their engagement posts on community platforms.
"In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, the Earth Hour is also a sign of solidarity for the planet: communities around the world are organizing their events digitally. WWF is also relocating this year's Earth Clock to the online world," the WWF told Xinhua in a press statement. Kenya on Saturday also leveraged digital platforms to raise visibility on the green agenda to mark the Earth Hour during the curfew.
Partners and stakeholders are encouraged to stay at home and use digital tools like Skype and mobile phones to sensitize the public on the need to adopt sustainable lifestyles.
Mohamed Awer, chief executive officer of WWF Kenya, said the event highlighted the need for the east African nation to accelerate low carbon development while supporting ongoing efforts to contain the highly contagious disease.
The Earth Hour will always remain a people-led movement to raise awareness on sustainable practices that communities should adapt to reduce global warming, he added.
The total number of global coronavirus cases has increased to 601,478, while the death toll stood at 27,862, the latest update by the Washington-based John Hopkins University revealed on Saturday.