EarthHour 2016 This Earth Hour, let’s Shine a Light on Climate Action!

Earth Hour has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment and its protection. Its deepest impacts are beginning to reveal themselves through the day-to-day efforts of individuals and businesses – in
other words, YOU.

This year, we are throwing down the gauntlet to you to take small actions that collectively translate into a big impact on climate change. You can help us by becoming a motivator and climate champion for the Earth and bringing your neighbours, friends, family, staff, customers and community on board.

Getting involved is easy and the impacts are invaluable. So, shine a light on climate action by:

  • Switching off for one hour from 8:30-9:30pm on Saturday, 19 March 2016. (
  • Pledging your support to take climate action.
  • Sharing your climate action stories with us.
  • Helping us to spread the Earth Hour message.

EarthHour WWF

What is Earth Hour?

It’s the united call to action for people around the world to take positive action for the planet. The seeds were first planted in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a symbolic event focused on switching off the lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. It has since grown into a booming global movement that has mobilised hundreds of thousands to use their collective voice during Earth Hour to inspire, motivate and lead the charge on their hopes, dreams and concerns about the planet.

On home soil, South Africans got switched on to the power of Earth Hour in 2009 ahead of climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark. This momentum led WWF South Africa to inspire many more South Africans to sign up and
switch off.

Each year Earth Hour mobilises more support for the planet, exceeding expectations and inspiring change in various environmental concerns. Last year this included fighting deforestation in Uganda, a 10-year freeze on a new oil
project in the Arctic, the creation of a national park in Malaysia, a reduction in energy usage in Brunei Darussalam and stronger climate change laws in Scotland and Switzerland and, in South Africa, the creation of a legion of
individuals, corporates and municipalities willing to switch off for Earth Hour and go beyond it by making real and lasting changes for the environment.

Earth Hour inspires change.

TAKE CLIMATE ACTION MESSAGING:

Let’s be honest, we all know that we need to take immediate action to save our planet but many people assume that these changes will bear a heavy burden on their pockets and with rising prices on our daily living expenses, we don’t feel we can contribute.

The funny part about this myth is that, like all myths, it’s based on misplaced perceptions. The truth is that going green is going to save you a fortune. While some measures are costly, like installing solar panels, there are small things you can do every day to help you save on your bills each month – which means more money in your pocket.

Ways to go green are often made complicated and aren’t explained very well. It’s no wonder we resist it so much. We live busy, time-bound lives. Fortunately, most people WANT to help but simply don’t have easy and clear ideas on HOW to help. It’s regrettable, really, since climate actions are so straightforward and easy to implement.

Call to action Messaging:

This Earth Hour, shine a light on climate action.
This Earth Hour, shine a light on a “greener” diet.
This Earth Hour, shine a light on climate action.
This Earth Hour, shine a light on being water-wise.
This Earth Hour, shine a light on being waste-wise.

Pledge Messaging:

This Earth Hour, I commit to greening my diet.
This Earth Hour, I commit to energy-efficient actions.
This Earth Hour, I commit to water-wise choices.
This Earth Hour, I commit to waste-wise actions.

CLIMATE ACTIONS:

Food:

  • Buy seasonal and local instead of imported goods or, hey, why not grow your own?
  • Become a SASSI consumer by buying green-listed fish: www.wwf.org.za/sassi
  • Think differently about meat and dairy. Try going meat-free for one day a week
  • Cut down your food waste. WWF’s recently completely beef life cycle analysis found that to produce 1 kg of steak requires 2 000 litres of water
  • Say cheers to green wine by supporting WWF Conservation Champion wine estates: www.wwf.org.za/conservationandwine

Energy:

  • Buy a home energy monitor and place it in the kitchen where it’s always visible – you’ll be amazed how your behavior changes when you can see what’s driving up your bill
  • Turn off appliances at the wall. Cell phone chargers, shavers and electric toothbrushes all use power when plugged in
  • Warming the ol’ geyser is your biggest home energy user – save 40% on your usage by switching off during the day and reducing the temperature particularly in summer
  • Go solar and save your wallet from skyrocketing electricity costs
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs and use electricity wisely
  • Use less fuel by walking, cycling or using public transport where possible – it’ll probably save you a fortune on gym fees too

Water:

  • Flush less or use less water when you do
  • Save up to 9 litres of water by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth
  • Take a quick 5 minute shower - baths can use up to 100 litres of water
  • Plant a water-wise garden with indigenous drought-resistant plants and water your garden after 6pm
  • Fix leaky taps. Even a slow dripping tap can waste 30 litres a day
  • Ditch the bottled water – it takes three litres of tap water to make one litre of bottled water

Waste:

  • Start composting, it makes for amazing fertiliser
  • Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. Put separate containers for paper, glass and plastics in your kitchen or garage and start dividing your waste
  • Create beauty through upcycling. The options are limitless, let your imagination take flight
  • Think before you buy, it’s better not to consume raw materials
  • Make your own planet beautiful fashion statement; hem your skirts, dye your shirts, swop with friends, don’t buy into the marketing for “this season’s must-haves”
  • Reduce your food wastage and prevent landfill waste that pumps methane into our atmosphere

Additional Messaging:

Why we’re hotter than we should be Put simply, climate change is a shift in weather conditions and patterns over time. In recent decades, the Earth’s average temperature has been rising steadily – we call this global warming. In a nutshell, some places are getting hotter, some colder, some wetter and others drier. Global warming happens when harmful emissions, like carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere – creating a blanket of toxins between us and the atmosphere. Interestingly, these gases occur naturally and actually regulate our planet’s climate BUT we have been pumping out so much of these toxic gases that our planet can’t process it all. The fuel we put in our cars, the electricity that lights our homes and the gas we use for cooking all add to a warmer climate. We need to keep the average global temperature increase below 2°C. If the temperature increase exceeds this, we won’t be able to anticipate what disastrous knock-on effects will result. Finding solutions to climate change will allow for a better life for you and future generations. Let’s keep our finger on the pulse by holding our elected officials to their promises. We’ve just seen some promising and achievable outcomes from COP21 but if we don’t keep these alive, the gains will fade into just another empty promise to curry false favour.

What is WWF doing about it?

Pollution from burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) is the single biggest source of greenhouse gases causing climate change. Other main sources are deforestation, agriculture and land-use change. This is why WWF is putting its weight behind efforts to change the way we use energy – without depriving people of the right to thrive – and aiming for a complete phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050 and 100% renewable energy.

With our partners, we work to:

  • Empower communities to supply renewable energy and protect forests
  • Promote a transition to 100% renewable energy
  • Help businesses cut emissions, keep deforestation out of their products and go green
  • Promote investment in renewables and divestment from fossil fuels
  • Achieve ambitious targets and laws with government

Join us in working toward a future where people, places and species exist happily and healthily within the limits of our planet’s resources, in a fair, low-carbon society that can withstand climate change. What does the climate have to do with your food, energy, water and waste? Food, energy and water are three essentials we need to survive and thrive. Each of these, however, is under pressure in the face of a changing climate.Crop failure, loss of livestock and a reduced food supply are all threats of
climate change. At the same time, globally, we waste in excess of nine million tonnes of food a year. Extreme weather patterns such as flooding and severe droughts will increase as global average temperature soars. Recent water shortages in South Africa are a case in point. Yet, those nine million tonnes of food that we bin every year contain enough water to fill 600 000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Energy is essential for us to prosper, but the means by which we produce it – burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas – is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. When you consider that these three resources are also intricately connected, it is obvious that the time to shine a light on these issues is now. Every action – small or big – makes a difference. Join us and take climate action now.