Just a couple of days back, on the 27th of March, the world celebrated the fourth annual Earth Hour from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. As I was browsing through the latest reports, the huge participation this year made me giddy with joy thereby prompting me to write this post. It is time that we give back the earth its life that we have so selfishly and wantonly been stripping off for years together. Earth Hour is World Wildlife Fund's global initiative where individuals, schools, organizations, businesses and governments turn off their lights for one hour to fight against pollution and climate change, and to show support for our planet and our future. What went on to become the biggest climate concerned event began in 2007, in Sydney, Australia where 2.2 million homes switched off their electricity to make a stand against climate change. Since then, Earth Hour has been held on the last Saturday of March every year. This year many major landmarks around the world such as the Colosseum in Rome, the Tower Bridge in London, the Empire State Building in New York and the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur answered the clarion call and embraced darkness for an hour. More than 125 countries participated in the cause which goes on to prove that we, after all, are not fighting a lost case.
When the environmental geeks in the 80's foretold the alarming consequences of climate change for the coming years, we rubbished and rejected them. Now the time has come to repent and repair the damage done, and just how much. The United States, according to studies is the most affected by global warming with its year-round floods and hurricanes. Places in the East Coast that just experience a normal snow shower in the winters, tackled two brutal snow storms this year in February. It is not a surprise though when one considers the ruled-by-gadgets lifestyle of the Americans. It troubles me a great deal as to why even the trivial of tasks like the peeling and dicing of an onion should require electricity. As an Indian I am more concerned about our future generations who would not know what regular monsoons were like. The iffiness of the monsoons these days brings in longer spells of a merciless tropical sun or the opposite, severe floods. The adverse effect of climate change is the most visible in the changing ecosystems. This further poses a threat to the already dwindling numbers of many animal and plant species. The Arctic marine life is probably the best example to explain the alarms of global warming. In no time the polar bears and the walruses, who are already facing the survival challenge because of the shrinking sea ice, will be part of stories that once consisted of dinosaurs and dodos.
Nature is at the brim and it might give up anytime. In such desperate times I would even choose to agree with the grossly exaggerated movie 2012 that showed the end of the world in the year 2012 as predicted by the Mayans. Surely I do have my personal prejudices against the film and also because I don't have the heart to face something as beautiful and giving as the Earth to simply end in chunks. Collective efforts, like the Earth Hour, are a symbol of love and unity and hope for a better tomorrow. We know that a single hour every year is not much of a help. But it is for us, for our lovely planet. Lights out then!