Cities worldwide turned off their lights Saturday to mark Earth Hour. This year’s event focused on the relation between the destruction of nature and increasing outbreaks of diseases like COVID-19. For an hour, individuals and businesses in 192 countries turned off electric lights.
The World Wildlife Find (WWF), who organised the event for the 15th time, released a video where the broken relationship of humans with nature is highlighted: from deforestation, over-exploitation of animals, clearing land for soy and animal farming to over-production, over-consumption and illegal wildlife trade.
When we destroy nature and take over natural habitats, we break the healthy balance and boundaries of the natural world, forcing wildlife into closer contact with each other, farm animals and people, the video showed. And all this makes it easier for diseases to spread between animals and people.
When and how we’ll emerge from COVID-19 isn’t clear, but one thing is certain, the risk of future pandemics will only increase unless we fix our broken relationship with nature, the video concluded.
From Singapore to Berlin, cities worldwide turned off their lights for an hour at 8:30 pm local time.
“Whether it is a decline in pollinators, fewer fish in the ocean and rivers, disappearing forests or the wider loss of biodiversity, the evidence is mounting that nature is in free fall,” Marco Lambertini, director general at WWF, said.
“And this is because of the way we live our lives and run our economies. By continuing to destroy nature, we are the ones who are responsible for increasing our own vulnerability to pandemics and accelerating climate change,” he said.
Next year, Earth Hour will be held on Saturday 26 March 2022 at 8:30 pm local time.