As millions of lights went dark, this year’s Earth Hour started. The annual event began on March 24th as a symbolic and powerful inspiration for saving the planet, having millions of people worldwide switch off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about climate change,
“This Earth Hour…people around the U.K. are sending a powerful message that we must act now on climate change and pollution to save our planet,” said Tanya Steele, the chief executive of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
It all started among environmentalists in Australia in 2007, where the impacts of climate change are far more than just environmental concerns, affecting multiple fields including economics, politics, human rights, global justice and sustainable peace. Climate change affects human security too, having, in extreme condition, people be displaced and forcibly become ”environmental refugees” who face insecurity over their basic human needs to food, shelter and life. Under these conditions, climate change has been a great threat to a large scale of universal human rights, including rights to life, health, food, shelter, water and property.
Although Earth Hour focuses on raising awareness for an individual to find ways in their daily life that would minimize negative effects of the global climate change, governments and businesses should also take strong actions and tackle the problem together, such as promoting environmental education in order to educate individuals on daily practical actions that would contribute to a more sustainable living environment. The Earth Hour, although largely symbolic, is a good example of how little efforts made by everyone could make a huge contribution to the environmental sustainability.
To reduce the negative effects of climate change-related human rights violations and the social impact of forcibly displaced migrants, the UN, civil societies, governments and individuals should all be involved in improving the situation. No single act of any individual or group caused climate change; it is the result of a long-term, gradual process of societal development that led to the rise of global temperature.
Starting in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has spread to more than 180 countries, with tens of millions of people joining in. The 11th Earth Hour event focused on support for biodiversity – specifically forests, oceans, and wildlife conservation, according to U.K.’s The Independent.