#Connect2Earth: The Earth Hour ‘Nature Matters’ Narrative | WWF

#Connect2Earth: The Earth Hour ‘Nature Matters’ Narrative

Posted on
21 February 2019

#Connect2Earth: The Earth Hour ‘Nature Matters’ Narrative
Nature not only provides us with all the things we need to live - from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and from the shelter we need to the economy we rely on - but also makes our lives better. However, its growing loss puts this all under threat. This Earth Hour, join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. #Connect2Earth
For the past 10 years, people around the world have come together every Earth Hour to support efforts to tackle climate change. And, together, we have created a powerful movement that helped deliver strong global commitments to tackling this threat.
Climate change remains a big challenge for us all. But another urgent threat now demands our attention: the loss of nature. These two combined threats mean we must act - and now.
It all starts with Earth Hour 2019
WWF’s Earth Hour 2019 is an amazing opportunity for you to start changing the planet for the better - join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up on why nature matters. #Connect2Earth. Earth Hour takes place on Saturday 30 March at 8.30pm local time, wherever you are in the world. Find out more at earthhour.org.
For more about WWF’s work in helping to reverse nature loss, visit panda.org/connect2earth.
Earth Hour 2019
A new role for Earth Hour
Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, WWF’s 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 organizations and reaching more than 180 countries and territories in 2018.
While climate change remains a vital issue for our planet, we believe the spotlight must also focus on the accelerating loss of nature and the threats this poses to us all. We need to build a movement for nature, to generate and galvanize attention in a similar way to what was achieved with the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. And we need the Earth Hour movement to play a key role.
This Earth Hour, we will invite our hundreds of millions of supporters and global networks to spark never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature around them. We need to reach more people than ever, helping them to understand why nature is so vital for their health, well-being and prosperity, and why we need urgent action.
Over the past decade, Earth Hour has helped bring climate action to the top of the agenda. Now is the time for us to build on this to create a broader movement for nature.
A journey to reverse the loss of nature
The journey to reverse the loss of nature starts here.
We will have a tremendous opportunity to influence the future direction of some of the world’s most important policy instruments for sustainable development in the year 2020: the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We need policy makers to reset the agenda so that by 2030 the loss of nature starts to reverse.
We believe that if people better understand what nature gives them - that it is not a ‘nice to have’ - they will try harder to protect it. Our global network is joining together to help connect people to the benefits and values of nature (and the danger of its loss) - a vital first step in building support for the global policy changes needed to reverse nature loss.
Earth Hour is one of the key opportunities for us to drive awareness, conversations and actions in the public and media to spotlight on this issue. We’ve partnered with the UN Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve its Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 so that hundreds of millions of people understand the importance of biodiversity, which plays a critical role in protecting both people and nature.
From awareness to action
The journey from awareness to action will be challenging; first we have to get awareness levels up. Recent WWF research in 10 of the world’s most bio-diverse countries, home to half the world’s population, shows that only 4 per cent of those surveyed have a comprehensive understanding of what biodiversity means. And only 40 percent associate the benefits of biodiversity and nature with necessities of life such as food, water, and fresh air. Like climate change in the past, biodiversity and nature currently feel like abstract concepts to many and, as a result, their economic, social and environmental importance are often undervalued. This needs to change.
What is encouraging, however, our research shows that more than 70 per cent of people feel they are personally responsible for protecting nature. Therefore, we aim to empower people around the world to spread the word and spark conversations - helping drive understanding but also to make people aware of the actions they can take for nature.
Earth Hour has always been about the hope and power of individuals to be a part of global conversations and solutions for our planet.
The services provided by nature are estimated to be worth US$125 trillion a year – double the world’s GDP.
But what are these services?
At their simplest, they are things people often take for granted -clean air, drinking water and healthy food.
Oceans and coral reefs provide food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people. Forests clean the air, regulate the local climate and retain water for rivers, while healthy soils are essential to grow crops. And mountains and glaciers are key sources of water for major rivers.
Why nature matters
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. It provides the foundations for our economic prosperity. And it also plays a crucial role in trying to keep climate change in check. Quite simply, we need nature to survive and thrive so that people can.
However, people have taken more and more from nature, with human activity polluting waterways, filling the oceans with plastic waste and destroying species. Our Living Planet Report 2018 provided clear-cut evidence of this ever-accelerating loss of nature and how it puts everyone’s future at risk.
It’s vital that we reverse this loss of nature. And it’s vital that we restore the rich biodiversity - the variety of life on Earth and places where they live - that underpins a healthy natural world.
We urgently need to start to turn things around in the coming decade to create a stable future for people and nature by the middle of the century.
Act now and, together, we have the opportunity to protect and improve our way of life. Do nothing and things will only get worse, and in our lifetime.
People must hear this vital truth
Too few people currently understand the vital importance of nature – and the huge threats it faces. For some people, nature feels distant and unimportant. Millions of people who live in cities may only experience nature on a screen and remain disconnected and unaware how nature is impacting and underpinning their lives. Some examples of why nature matters are obvious: the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all ultimately rely on nature. But others are less obvious: nature underpins the production of the most common goods and much of our way of life (products from coffee to cotton rely on biodiverse environments).
We need everyone who understands this vital truth to help spark millions of conversations on Earth Hour and start a global movement for change in the coming months and years. We need to stop the destruction of nature on which our health and prosperity depend and find the way to do collectively what we know individually is the right and only thing to do.
There is no time to lose; we have some incredible opportunities to improve global policies on nature in the next 24 months, and don’t want to miss this chance. The future direction of three big UN policy mechanisms will be decided in the run up to 2020: the international climate change agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The unified voice of many millions of people will be needed to challenge policy makers to ensure the loss of nature starts to reverse by 2030.