While changes in knowledge do not produce automatic changes in human behavior, raising awareness regarding climate shifts and sustainability remains an effective instrument to promote action within local communities. Lack of information and its deliberate manipulation by companies leads to collective ignorance. Millions of people do not realize such concepts as ‘carbon footprint’, ‘deforestation’, or ‘fossil fuels’. By providing the masses with factual information as well as helpful statistics, certain environmental campaigns have the ability to eradicate people’s motivation to ignore reality.
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It can be argued that the biggest problem the planet faces nowadays is climate change. Throughout the last two centuries, the global average surface temperature increased, which produced major shifts in weather and climate systems. The process that warms the Earth’s surface is called the greenhouse effect. Residential (households) and industrial energy consumption contribute largely to accelerating the greenhouse effect.
Environmental Campaign and Its Activities
Earth Hour is a movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It was primarily presented in the form of an annual event that pushes individuals and businesses to turn off electricity for one hour. It originated in Australia in 2007, but soon after the launch, many countries ran their own lights-out campaigns inspired by Earth Hour (Earth Hour: About). Millions of people and more than 180 countries currently support the project. Such a global effort sparks conversation about the climate crisis and other environmental issues.
Apart from an actual event held at the end of March, Earth Hour holds forums, lectures, and informative discussions to raise awareness and build communities that later on organize events of their own. On their official website, anyone can sign a petition to secure a commitment from world leaders to act immediately in regard to global warming and protecting the planet’s ecosystems. Earth Hour provides individuals with an opportunity to share their personal stories about how environmental changes affect their lives.
The campaign’s intention is to raise more awareness through crowdfunding initiatives, for instance, an international project that helped to reverse the deforestation of local ecosystems by planting half a million trees in Uganda. Earth Hour goes beyond an event held once a year, its influence being constant and worldwide.
The goal of Earth Hour might be universal, implementing some ideas from both Western and Eastern understandings of the environment and nature. However, the justification and promotion of the campaign are rooted in the concept from the West. According to Heber, Europeans are prone to believe that an individual does not deserve natural resources when he or she refuses to dominate them. Earth Hour promotes itself as a movement that mainly focuses on the improvement of humanity. Positive changes in the environment come as a necessity for people to keep their quality of life at a fairly high level.
The campaign states that its mission is to protect nature “to ensure our own health, happiness, prosperity” (Earth Hour: About). For instance, Sintayehu argues that people’s well-being is directly affected by the lack of biodiversity, which is a reflection of global temperature shifts (225). Therefore, it becomes evident that Earth Hour uses basic human fears and self-preservation instincts to encourage people to make a change.
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Earth Hour Informing Its Activities, Alliances with Other Organizations
Earth Hour is a modern campaign that uses both traditional and social media to reach as many people as possible. It utilizes social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, to create a potent social media presence. The premise of Earth Hour usually generates enough media attention. The concept of turning off lights and devices for 60 minutes sounds interesting to journalists from CNN, The Guardian, and GQ. In addition to this, press releases and blog posts are published on the official website (Earth Hour: About). Earth Hour cares about communication with the public and benefits from the advantages of both print media and online publications.
The project established itself as a serious movement mainly through collaborations with other organizations and some government structures. Earth Hour is a partner of the World Organization of the Scout movement, the crowdsourcing platform Userfarm, and a popular app TikTok. The campaign also works with governments to create positive changes on a national level. Some of these collaborations include an arrangement with the Department of Energy in the Philippines, and a bill focusing on oil pollution passed through the Russian parliament. Moreover, Earth Hour activities are supported by commercial organizations and political institutions around the planet.
Campaign’s Importance and Relevance
Earth Hour interested me because of its scope, but often such campaigns that raise awareness do not seem to generate tangible results. Earth Hour, on the other hand, does a great job of promoting action among the participants. The campaign introduces millions to its activities, and thousands take the opportunity to create positive changes in their local communities by forming organizations, campaigns, and movements of their own. Crowdfunding initiatives are created around the planet as a result of Earth Hour and WWF cooperation. The WWF also uses Earth Hour to advocate for legislative action, when it comes to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy sources.
Every global change begins with an individual, thus, Earth Hour helps millions of people to become more environmentally conscious by changing their lifestyles and making them aware of their emissions contribution. Apart from that, the campaign urges people to unite and work together. Earth Hour exemplifies the idea of collective effort, and it is that unity that inspired me to analyze Earth Hour, in particular.
Earth Hour: About. Earth Hour, 2019. Web.
Heber, Yaeir. “The Western View of Nature and its Implications: The Obscurities Between Human-to-Human and Human-to-Nature Interactions.” Swarthmore College Environmental Studies. Web.
Sintayehu, Dejene W. “Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Associated Key Ecosystem Services in Africa: A Systematic Review.” Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 9, 2018, pp.225–239. Taylor and Francis Online. Web.