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How Earth Hour UAE is redefining our relationship with the planet

How Earth Hour UAE is redefining our relationship with the planet

Helena Carless, communications director at Emirates Nature-WWF, explains some of the main benefits of Earth Hour

The UAE is witnessing an extraordinary unification across society, with people from all walks of life coming together and showing that nature matters by joining the Earth Hour UAE movement.

Since its humble beginnings in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. It’s been more successful than we ever imagined – inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organisations and reaching more than 180 countries and territories in 2018.

As we once again prepare to switch off our lights on Saturday, March 30 at 8.30pm to 9.30pm, Emirates Nature-WWF is embarking on an even bigger challenge; encouraging everyone to consider why nature matters and commit to going beyond one hour in order to live more sustainably in our everyday lives.

The importance of nature

Nature matters to every one of us – it provides all the things we need to live, from the air we breathe to the water we drink – and it offers the foundations for our economic prosperity.

Unfortunately, the population abundance of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have, on average, plummeted by 60 per cent since 1970 – less than a lifetime. The reason behind such a decline is all too often the relationship between people and nature.

Here in the United Arab Emirates, with our beautiful seas, desserts, wadis, wetlands and mountain ranges, habitat loss coupled with increased ease of access to formerly remote areas may intensify and speed up the shrinkage of species distribution and abundance. Thankfully, as we have witnessed with the growing popularity of Earth Hour UAE, people from all seven emirates are demonstrating their passion for protecting nature in this country.

A matter of survival

Nature is vitally important to our daily lives. Seas provide food and livelihoods, healthy soils are essential to grow crops, mountains are key sources of water for many communities and wetlands are vital for healthy levels of biodiversity. Increasingly, the fragility of ecosystems poses huge risks to societal and economic stability. Quite simply, nature is the foundation for a healthy society and fair economy for all. While you could say nature is literally priceless, these services provided by nature are estimated to be worth $125 trillion per year – around two-thirds higher than global GDP.

Joining the movement

Living in the UAE, nature can feel like an abstract concept to many, especially as most of us are living and working in modern urban locations. As a result, the economic, social and environmental importance of nature and a healthy climate are often undervalued. Emirates Nature-WWF believes that nature will not only survive but thrive if people collectively come together and spark millions of conversations and join a global movement for positive change.

Earth Hour 2019

The latest WWF research shows that more than 70 per cent of people feel they are personally responsible for protecting nature. Earth Hour UAE is therefore an amazing opportunity to build a movement for nature and start changing the planet for the better, joining millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up on why nature matters.

Earth Hour UAE takes place on Saturday, March 30 at 8.30pm. Speak up for the planet and visit the official Earth Hour UAE website for more ways you can get involved.

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