Over the last 15 years, the lights-off moment has seen entire streets, buildings, landmarks, and city skylines go dark -- an unmissable sight that drew public attention to nature loss and the climate crisis. Earth Hour India too, resonated with landmark monuments like India Gate, Parliament House, streets, and buildings go dark for an hour.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, Earth Hour this year, on March 27 between 8.30 and 9.30 p.m., will shine a Virtual Spotlight for the world to see our planet, the issues we face, and our place within it in a new light.
Part of the Virtual Spotlight is the event, 'Speak Up for Nature with Shantanu Moitra' on WWF India Facebook page. Conversations around nature and conservation by guests like Dia Mirza, Papon, Dhritiman Mukherjee, Saiyami Kher, Ambi Subramaniam, Bindu Subramaniam, Jayanthi Kumaresh, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Swanand Kirkire, Shreya Ghoshal will bring everyone on a common platform to rise and 'speak up for nature'.
The event hosted by Hope and Harmony Ambassador of WWF India and celebrated music composer, Shantanu Moitra, will play a key role to promote the need for protecting our planet.
According to Shantanu Moitra, "We have to co-exist if we want to live long and healthy. We need to take cues from nature and take small steps which can go a long way in conservation, most importantly, the act of caring for our planet. The contributions of our guests who have agreed to come together to initiate conversations around Earth Hour will be pivotal to spread awareness about the message by speaking up for Nature."
"The smallest actions have the power to restore the balance between humans and the planet. I ask every child and youth to steer a change in their house, adopt pro-conservation attitudes, and foster green habits among families," urges Viswanathan Anand, Indian chess grandmaster and Environment Education Ambassador, WWF India.
India, the seventh largest country globally, is home to a treasure trove of incredible wildlife and is a biodiversity hotspot. As the country embarks on the path of rapid development, India's wildlife, charismatic landscapes, and biodiversity face the constant threat of degradation and fragmentation, said WWF India.
Earth Hour marks a pivotal opportunity for civil society organisations, citizens, nation heads, CEOs and environmentalists to call on world leaders for setting nature on a path to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of all people and the planet. This year Earth Hour will reach out to the audience with its message in seven languages and urge them to do their bit, as every action, big or small, adds up and makes a difference for our collective home.
In addition, a 5-day challenge (#iMeanGreen) will engage individuals at all levels, sharing simple yet impactful tips to live more sustainably, preserve the planet's biodiversity, and fight against climate change.
WWF India's Philanthropy Ambassadors have also come together for Earth Hour to spread the message far and wide by speaking up for nature.
Deep Kalra, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, MakeMyTrip, says, "A crisis in the form of a pandemic can be turned into an opportunity to create the greatest value. This year Earth Hour should be seen as an opportunity to ask ourselves about one old habit that we can drop that harms nature."
"By creating awareness about conservation, we can help move towards the goal of reducing environmental footprint. But we can't do it alone -- It's time we all stand together and Speak Up for Nature loud and clear this Earth Hour," adds Rishabh Shroff, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Madhura Visweswaran, Co-Founder of the Redwood Montessori School and The Redwood Montessori Foundation, adds that the Earth Hour should be seen as an opportunity that extends beyond just a symbolic one and children should be actively involved as they are the real agents of change and environment, climate change, wildlife should be a central part of their curriculum.
Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairperson CSR, Apollo Hospitals, Managing Director of Apollo Life adds, "The pandemic has made us reconnect and realise the value of protecting our planet. According to me humans must evolve to be able to adopt Earth Hour every minute to focus on the change of behaviour towards nature."
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)