ISLAMABAD: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase in the cases in Pakistan, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) marked the Earth Hour on Saturday. Just a few government buildings switched off lights, including the Prime Minister’s Office.
However, this year, goodwill ambassadors joined WWF to raise awareness through digital media campaigns. WWF said Earth Hour united individuals, businesses and leaders from all over the world to shine a spotlight on the health of the planet, raising awareness on the importance of nature and inspiring action for a brighter future for nature and people.
With Covid-19 safety regulations, Pakistan commemorated Earth Hour 2021 completely online and the virtual events were observed in different cities, said WWF.
With mounting evidence establishing a close link between nature’s destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks such as the Covid-19, Earth Hour was an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of nature in a year when leaders will take key decisions on nature, climate change and sustainable development.
Renowned public figures, celebrities, youth and local communities from across Pakistan supported Earth Hour to draw attention to the nature and climate crises.
Pledging her support for Earth Hour, Ushna Shah, actress and WWF’s goodwill ambassador, said: “From iconic wildlife species to lush green forests, the beauty of our one shared home, our Earth, is unparalleled. We rely on nature for everything - our food, our water, even our livelihoods. But we are losing our natural treasures faster than they can replenish themselves. Preventing nature loss is not just our moral duty, it is critical to our very existence.”
TV celebrity Anoushey Ashraf, also WWF’s goodwill ambassador, said people-led initiatives around the world like Earth Hour were vital to continue inspiring awareness on the importance of nature and prompt action to help deliver a nature-positive world by the end of the decade. She said it is important that the next generation connected to nature and valued it. She said people should unite and make a difference by changing their lifestyles. Citizens should minimise the use of plastics and manage energy and water resources wisely. She reiterated that the pandemic called for an immediate action to mend relationship with nature.
Ali Rehman, actor and another WWF goodwill ambassador, in his message on social media expressed support to Earth Hour.
“Pakistan is losing forests at an unprecedented rate. Replanting and restoring forests is essential to combat climate crisis, reconnecting wildlife habitats, and reducing threats such as flooding and soil erosion.”
WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said protecting nature was nations’ moral responsibility but losing it also increased vulnerability to pandemics, accelerated climate change and threatened food security.
“By acting for nature, we can all create a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2021