Caribbean Nations Urged to Join “Earth Hour”


Caribbean nations are being urged to join other regions of the world in Earth Hour, a global activity intended to raise awareness of climate change. The concept is simple. On March 23, individuals and organisations in participating nations will turn off their non-essential lights for one hour. In 2012, official Earth Hour activities took place in more than 7,000 cities and towns across 152 countries.

Heather Pinnock, Caribbean sustainability advocate and project manager for Earth Hour, said, “Caribbean nations are inherently climate sensitive, with our lives and livelihoods inextricably connected to our environment and therefore affected by climate change. “It is important for us to join in international conversations and activities which address these issues which are critical to our survival and prosperity,” she added.

The Caribbean region is comprised of two dozen territories, most of which are small island developing states. Earth Hour is organised by the World Wildlife Fund and began in Sydney, Australia in 2007. “The event is a symbolic action, not a measurable energy saving or carbon reduction exercise,” Pinnock said.

“It is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world, to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange, that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges. “Participation in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.”

She is saddened that despite the solid research and dissemination work of agencies such as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and groups such as the Climate Studies Group at the University of the West Indies, public awareness does not seem to have increased. Since 2012, Earth Hour has added the online “I Will If You Will” campaign, using the hashtag #IWIYW on Twitter, to extend its global community action beyond the hour and to take advantage of the easy dissemination of its message through social media.

IWIYW asks Earth Hour’s digital community to inspire people from all corners of the globe to take sustainability actions, and to share their commitment to the environment with their own social media networks. Pinnock said Earth Hour provides an opportunity for “us to come together as a region to discuss and develop climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience… Aruba and Belize have already joined the Earth Hour movement,” she said.

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