Switch off your lights for one hour in support of nature and our planet.
Saturday March 28th celebrates Earth Hour. And at 8.30p.m Irish time, millions of people all around the world are encouraged, for one hour, to turn off their lights to make a statement of support for protecting our environment.
The theme for Earth Hour 2020 is climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Without immediate action, the problems will only get worse.
And GOAL is dedicated to being part of this fight.
Earth Hour 2020 comes at a tumultuous time. COVID-19 has upended our lives. We have all been urged to keep a physical distance from each other. And to adopt various hygiene practices. Out of compassion, we are helping any way we can — staying connected by phone or internet with family and those who are lonely; doing food drops for those who can’t leave their home and making donations.
If there was ever a time in which humanity should finally recognize that we belong to one connected family on Earth, this should be it. We share a single planet, drink from the same water and breathe the same air.
So whether hunkered down at home, volunteering at this time in the community, or working on the front lines, we are all doing our part to face a common enemy together. When COVID-19 is finally behind us, instead of returning to normal life, we must hold on to these lessons in the fight against climate change.
Impact of Climate Change on GOAL countries
The changing climate is having a huge impact in our countries of operation, leading to extreme weather episodes, causing food shortages and forcing millions to leave their homes.
In Ethiopia, climate change results in food insecurity for millions of people due to droughts and other disasters. The recent locust infestation, brought on by heavy rains last year, has destroyed vast amounts of crops and livelihoods, leaving the country on the brink of famine. In response, GOAL is providing primary health and nutrition care to many of the people who are malnourished and facing starvation.
In Zimbabwe early last year, accelerating climate change led the devastating Cyclone Idai to hit a region which doesn’t normally see such storms. The cyclone killed hundreds, destroyed multitudes of crops and damaged water infrastructure, leading to an outbreak of cholera and a severe food crisis. GOAL’s Zimbabwe team reacted quickly to distribute food aid and cash transfers, as well as to rebuild WASH infrastructure to combat the spread of disease.
Malawi was also hit by Cyclone Idai, experiencing fifty-nine deaths and the displacement of 86,000 people. The torrential rain and flooding linked to the cyclone also destroyed local agriculture in a community where the majority of livelihoods rely on small-scale, rain-fed farms. In response, GOAL Malawi aims to deliver integrated and sustainable interventions that increase household agricultural production and improve nutrition. We also work with local communities to ensure their capacity to respond to climate-related emergencies.
In Honduras, five consecutive years of ‘El Niño’ induced droughts have left thousands struggling. GOAL works with local authorities to implement effective and timely alert and response systems to droughts in the country’s ‘Dry Corridor’. Similarly, GOAL’s ‘Blue Economy’ project works alongside local fishermen to a build a more sustainable and profitable local fishing industry.
More actions like these are needed to help the most vulnerable communities become resilient to the effects of climate change. Join millions around the world in taking part in Earth Hour to show your support for the conservation of our planet.
Six Lessons COVID-19 can teach us about Climate Change (courtesy of earthday.org)
Earth Hour 2020 comes at a tumultuous time. COVID-19 has upended our lives. The number of infections keeps soaring world-wide and entire countries are sheltering in place.
- Science matters
We can save lives by funding, accessing and understanding the best science available. The science on climate change has been clear for decades, but we’ve failed in communicating the danger to the public, leading to slow action and widespread denial of the facts.
- How we treat the natural world affects our well-being.
The loss of habitat and biodiversity creates conditions for lethal new viruses and diseases like COVID-19 to spill into human communities. And if we continue to destroy our lands, we also deplete our resources and damage our agricultural systems.
- The sooner we mobilize for action, the less suffering will take place.
Quick and drastic action can flatten the curve for coronavirus and free up healthcare resources, lowering death rates. Similarly, drastic action on climate change could reduce food and water shortages, natural disasters and sea level rise, protecting countless individuals and communities.
- We have the ability to make drastic changes very quickly.
When sufficiently motivated, we can suspend business as usual to help each other. All over the world, healthy people are changing their lifestyles to protect the more vulnerable people in their communities. Similar dedication for climate change could transform our energy consumption immediately. All of us can make a difference and play an important role in the solution.
- All of us are vulnerable to crisis, though unequally.
Those with underlying social, economic or physical vulnerabilities will suffer most. A society burdened with social and economic inequality is more likely to fall apart in a crisis. We must also recognize that industries and people who profit from an unjust status quo will try to interrupt the social transformation that a crisis requires.
- Holding on to a vision of a just, peaceful and sustainable Earth will give us strength for the future.
Earth Hour 2020 will be remembered as a time when humanity was reeling from a pandemic. But this year will also be remembered as a time when we all were suddenly forced to stop what we were doing, pay attention to one another and take action.
Visit www.earthhour.org/ for more information.