EarthHourThe recent extreme fire in the Cape Peninsula – coupled with Cape Town’s hottest day ever recorded on 4 March 2015 – is a symptom of climate change.

The fire burnt thousands of hectares in and beyond the Table Mountain National Park – a central point of Cape Town’s original and more affluent suburbs – causing many to flee their homes for safer territory, some with only the prospect of returning to their homes in ashes.

While one cannot directly attribute any extreme weather condition or natural disaster directly to climate change, a fact about climate change is that we are already and are due to experience more extreme weather conditions and natural disasters in future.

Whether greater floods or droughts are experienced as a consequence of climate change, there is no doubt that climate change will affect our food, energy and water security, inevitably causing poor people to suffer the most.

Climate change is caused by many factors, not least the burning of fossil fuels for energy – a technology in which our country excels, given that 86% of our current electricity comes from coal-fired power stations.

Nine years ago, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) founded an international movement called Earth Hour, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of March each year. It has become the largest citizen-driven movement for people and the environment on the planet.

Earth Hour 2015

WWF’S EARTH HOUR

This year, WWF’s Earth Hour is calling on its hundreds of millions of supporters in 162 countries, to actually sign up to join the Earth Hour movement on line. The logic is that if enough people “join the movement to change climate change”, global leaders might start listening when they make decisions about our future.

Earth-hour-sparklers

While the essence of Earth Hour’s tradition will be observed by many cities, municipalities and individuals across South Africa this year – that of switching off the lights as part of a world-wide symbolic ceremony in favour of a sustainable future – Earth Hour’s core call to action this year is “join the movement to change climate change”.

As US President Barak Obama said at the opening of the UN’s Climate Summit in New York end of last year: We are the first generation to experience the effects of climate change, and the last generation to be able to do something about it.

Join the movement to change climate change on wwf.org.za/earthhour. Your voice will count.
By Monica Graaff, WWF-SA Earth Hour Coordinator