Event 18: Earth Hour…more than just an hour

Earth Hour the only event that I wasn’t part of anything specifically but I reality we all were…the event that has captivated and eclipsed the world.

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What is the event?

Earth Hour is globally an incentive and mission to get people to think about the future of protecting the world. Between 8:30pm – 9:30pm around the world lights were switched off and events occurred as part of earth hour. 

What happened at the event? 

Change is happening because of this event. In over 13 years earth hour events are now being held in over 7000 cities in 180 countries. Environmental Policies have been implemented because of the pressures that citizens of the world have put on to world leaders. 

At 6pm I arrived to the Birds Nest in Beijing. I was freezing. The temperature was at least 3 degrees. I headed to a cafe but inside was a shopping centre that was all locals. Not one tourist. I was amazed at watching the queues on a Saturday night for fresh breaded sticks that were coming straight out the fryer. Everyone was getting 4 each. The place was packed which made me think – how many people in this store know that in just over an hour it was earth hour. Probably not many. 

After grabbing some dinner I headed back into what felt like a very good replication of the artic. I knew I had one shot to get the video right because I was going to be waiting for the lights to turn off. I was walking through the park testing angles, checking volume and trying to come up with the write script. But I knew something. I knew that I would probably never experience this again – most certainly not in Beijing. 

It was 8:28pm I had my cameras in place my perfect view and suddenly two tourists decided to stand in my way. I quick went to plan b. It was 8:29pm I knew I had to capture the moment that this iconic global landmark turned off or else it would be wasted. Just before I pressed record they strolled away giggling at their photo – not realising they wouldn’t be able to get a photo of the Birds nest in light for the next hour. 

I started and as I began the lights began to shutdown. I felt like a news reporter capturing something quite momentous. For me it was event number 18. But for everyone else it was this iconic landmark turning off its light plummeting into darkness and then not able to take a photo for instagram or wechat (Chinese social media).

But really the symbol of darkness brings it back to the start of the planet. Light wasn’t part of the beginning or the 7 days of earths creation. Along the way creation has made this planet bright and of course given opportunities for the future. However, these opportunities have created a whirlwind of devastation which we must take responsibility for. In terms of the future I believe that this event is something that is has been a catalyst to global change. On the website of the event it states there has been environmental policies implemented by many countries due to the pressure of citizens who attend earth hour – local and national events each hour with louder voices constantly.

Earth Hour events last year were held in over 7,000 cities in 180 countries. This shows you the sheer momentum that’s coming from this simple event.

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Anything else happen at this event?

Not specifically in Beijing but globally some of the highlights from 2019 included:

– UN Headquarters in New York

– 17 million trees planted in Kazakhstan

–  VND910 million (currency of Vietnam) saved during Earth Hour.

I would encourage everyone to think about the usage but also impacts for the future.

For me since travelling I have changed my habits – but also tried to fit in to local ways of sustainability. Refilling my water bottle instead of buying new bottles constantly, refusing plastic bags (which get given out in Asia like there going out of fashion), cutting down the amount of petrol emission vehicles and going either electric scooters or public transports (including electric buses in Beijing). Also, most of my flights that an emission offset payment which I make. 

I can see more changes I can make in the future and I will. Sustainability is not just products or recycling it’s now about realising about the future – that might not happen. Imagine if in the future the museum that will look back to 2019 – doesn’t actually exist. Heartbreaking.

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One thing to take away…

Two things actually.

First thing – events have global impacts if positioned correctly with the right messaging.

Secondly – let’s do what’s right and carry on implementing change to our planet for the future. 

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