What motivates someone to take part in a climate and environmental awareness event like Earth Hour? This year the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have asked precisely this question of their supporters, staff and ambassadors and have compiled a wide variety of motivations from around the world. Here follows a global snapshot of some of these stories…
Roger Milla, Cameroon, former international footballer
During my long and rich career as a footballer, I travelled the world and was able to appreciate the wonders of nature. I fell in love with it. Nature has made me the oldest scorer in the history of the World Cup and I felt indebted to it. I decided to give Mother Nature everything she gave me.
With this commitment, I started by travelling through Cameroon, my country, a miniature Africa, rich in its diversity with its green abundant and lush vegetation, its climate variety and its fauna. At that time, we did not discuss topics such as global warming and the greenhouse effect, shortage of water, waste, deforestation, endangered species. I would almost say that these subjects did not exist. Today the degradation of nature is a reality; we all suffer from climate change; the ecosystem suffers an imbalance and has lost certain wildlife species.
I believe we are all on this planet to make an impact and to create a difference.
Often we don’t realize how fortunate we are to have water when we open our taps or to not spend our nights in darkness with no electricity. These are things that we sometimes take for granted. Having travelled around the world and being associated with WWF Nepal as the Young Conservative Ambassador in 2010, I realize that we need to own up to our actions and understand that the Earth is our home.
So how can we as individuals take a step to protect what is ours?
Here is my promise – to use wisely any resource that this earth provides. My family and I make sure we recycle and reuse as much as we can. My dad and I are very fond of gardening and we make our own compost from household waste.As simple as it may sound, I feel this creates our own small ecosystem to support insects and birds with whom we share our space. I also harvest rainwater in our house and use the collected water to water the plants and wash our clothes. By being mindful of less to zero waste, I feel I am able to inculcate the value of sustainable living.
As editor-in-chief in the editorial desk, I have been working on this years, many things have changed since we joined the Earth Hour. We have become a paperless company, meaning that paper is used only if is really needed. We have encouraged people to use public transportation to go to work, especially in those days when Skopje, our capital, has a high level of air pollution (did you know that Skopje is one of the most polluted cities in the world?). Also, we have changed all our regular light bulbs with LED lights, making our office, even more, brighter, but at the same time using less electricity. Together with the Earth Hour campaign in Macedonia, we were able to give educational institutions and individuals sets of LED light bulbs, we have planted thousands of trees, cleaned public spaces from garbage and spark awareness on climate change and biodiversity!
Alice, United Kingdom
Recently I’ve been learning all about biodiversity and how important it is for the survival of life on earth. When we think about ‘nature’ we usually think of going for a forest walk or swimming in the sea. In reality, nature is everywhere – it’s the water we drink, the air we breathe and the very food we eat. Nature needs a wide variety of life to survive and thrive but there is currently a worrying trend of nature loss as a direct consequence of human activity on the planet we all call home. We need to understand the importance of biodiversity and do all we can to protect life on earth. There are some very simple things we can all do and which I’m doing, like cutting down the amount of meat we eat, reducing single-use plastic consumption and looking for alternatives to car and plane travel.
Nelson Mandela once said: “Any society which does not care for its children is no nation at all.” I think the same is true about the environment. What kind of society are we, if we don’t take care of our planet, our home? For too long, we have pushed it to the edge, in the name of “progress”. We can’t go on like this.
I am trying to become a responsible consumer. In the last year, I have stopped using single-use plastics and encourage my family to do the same. Straws, bottles, shopping bags; they are pointless and there is no need for them. I now use a refillable water bottle and a reusable shopping bag. Because I live in the city and lead a busy life, I often order groceries and other items online. I always ask of online businesses to cut down on packaging and group deliveries to reduce their footprint. I hope my actions and those of many others will contribute to making single-use plastics socially unacceptable in the very near future.
I’ve always liked fashion and shopping for clothes. Ever since I was old enough to buy my own outfits, I’ve been shopping around. But then I started seeing videos online about fast fashion and how it’s harming the environment and that got me curious, so I went to do some research on the whole topic. I found out that the fast fashion industry is actually really bad for the environment because of the dyes, resource wastage and water pollution. After reading up on all this, I decided that instead of constantly shopping for new clothes and throwing them away when I’m tired of them, I’d rather invest in a few choice pieces of clothing every year and wear them for a long time. So nowadays, I avoid shopping at fast fashion retailers and try to keep my shopping sprees to a maximum of one or two per year. Cheap, trendy fashion really comes at a huge cost to the environment. And I don’t want to wear the same things as everyone else anyway.
I am a renewable energy entrepreneur from Cameroon. I am the founder of Green Girls Organisation and the winner of the WWF Africa Youth Conservation Award. We are all about the pan African infiltration of renewable energy in African communities- working to teach girls how to generate renewable energy from waste and the sun. We look forward to a world where everyone has access to clean energy.
Earth Hour is this Saturday (24th of March).
Photos courtesy of WWF.