Posted on
26 March 2023
Yesterday at 8:30 pm local time (25 March), hundreds in Guyana joined with millions of people from 190 countries and territories in a moment of global unity pledging their support for WWF’s Earth Hour.
Promoted as the ‘biggest hour for earth’, the Earth Hour event focused on protecting the iconic jaguar by promoting the Jaguar Roadmap 2030 initiative. Present at the event were key public figures, including Mr Robert Persaud – Chairman of the PAC Board of Directors and Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms Yesim Oruc, who, together with Guyanese from various sectors of society, gathered at the National Park to ‘give the jaguar a voice’.

For the first time in Guyana, Earth Hour, we received strong support from the business sector, which included the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry (main partner), ANSA McAL Group of Companies, Darthan Investments, and Boxhill Juices. Many of Guyana’s leading nature and civil society conservation organisations also participated in celebrating Earth Hour; Guyana Youth and Environment Network, Youth Action Network, Protected Areas Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Policy Forum Guyana, Guyana Tourism Authority, Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission, Hyde Park Zoo Sanctuary and Tropical Gardens Inc., Guyana Marine Conservation Society, Sustainable Wildlife Management, Save Soil and Rupununi Adventures.

Delivering his feature address at the event, Mr Persaud reiterated the government’s commitment to protecting natural habitats. He expressed his endorsement of WWF’s work in jaguar conservation.  Mr Persaud said that “through the LCDS 2030, the government intends to expand the protected areas system initially to 17% by 2025 and progressively to 30% by 2030, allowing for a greater focus on species conservation. Mr Persaud went on to say that the government is happy to collaborate with WWF and is pleased that WWF is using the occasion of Earth Hour to put the issue of species conservation high on the agenda.  
This is the ninth year of Earth hour in Guyana, and WWF will continue to use this platform to address climate change and biodiversity loss issues. Aiesha Williams, WWF-Guianas Country Manager, Guyana Office, in her remarks, stated that “WWF’s interest is to scale up our work towards preserving the jaguar population and ecosystems in Guyana and across the Guianas, contributing to the sustainable development of people and communities coexisting with jaguars. And to do so with an inclusive approach, with partners, especially with communities, will remain a key pillar of our work”.
The event also featured local celebrities Vanilla -multi-time winner of the Soca Road March– who performed her hit song ‘One Voice’ and led the crowd into the Lights-off segment of the event. Talented vocalist Abel Stokes also raised his voice in song for the jaguar with renditions of popular pop and reggae songs. Other attractions included jaguar information booths, games, unveiling the jaguar mural, and lighting up the Earth Hour emblem, all set to music by the Buxton steel band orchestra.

The earth Hour activities in Guyana were also held in South Rupununi, where our partner organisation, the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC), held a community ‘jaguar art competition’ in the lead-up to Earth Hour. On the night, youths from the community gathered around a campfire for games and stories in the village of Aishalton.
WWF’s Earth Hour campaign globally encouraged individuals, communities and businesses to give an Hour for Earth. WWF challenged the public to provide as many hours as possible and log them in its online ‘Hour Bank’ - an online count of all the planet-positive activities pledged by people for Earth Hour this year. With a target of reaching 60,000 hours or seven years’ worth - mirroring the time we have left to restore nature and course-correct for the sake of people and the planet – WWF saw an incredible total of more than 410,000 hours pledged on the ‘Hour Bank’.

The public was also encouraged to ‘switch off’ from everyday distractions and Give an Hour for Earth. Earth Hour events and celebrations popped up all over the globe, which saw people from all walks of life come together to celebrate our one shared home.