Residents and visitors throughout the Murcia region are being asked to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday night (28 March) to mark Earth Day.
Events are being held throughout Spain for the annual initiative, known in Spain as “Hora del Planeta” and coinciding this year with a month-long nationwide lockdown decreed in response to another natural crisis affecting people around the globe: the coronavirus pandemic.
With that in mind, the global organising team is advising communities to celebrate Earth Hour digitally this year, and follow national health guidelines on attending and hosting public events. “Whichever way you, your community, your family or your friends choose to celebrate Earth Hour this year, we can still raise our collective voices to secure a ‘New Deal for Nature and People’, even if this year we are doing it from the safety of our homes.
“Some of the countries celebrating Earth Hour digitally are in fact hosting virtual events as exciting and ambitious as our physical events.”
Jumilla is just one of several municipalities in Murcia (including the capital city), and hundreds of Spanish town halls, taking part in the campaign. The town hall plans to switch off lighting at its 15th century castle from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (Spanish time), and has encouraged people to do the same in their homes, and send messages on torches from their terraces and windows with the following message in Morse code…
“Apaga la luz todo irá bien” (“Turn off the light, all will go well”)
.- .–. .- –. .- / .-.. .- / .-.. ..- –.. / – — -.. — / .. .-. / -€ .. . -. .-.-.
Organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour is described on its official website as a global grassroots movement aimed at “uniting people to take action on environmental issues and protect the planet”.
It was started as a lights out event in Sydney (Australia) on 31 March 2007, when more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour.
Since then, it has grown to engage millions of supporters in more than 185 countries and territories, “inspiring individuals and organisations worldwide to take action for the environment, and driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the crowd. As the movement grows, the one-hour lights out event continues to be the symbol of a broader commitment toward nature and our planet.”
WWF projects and individual actions as part of the Earth Hour movement continue throughout the year, while the annual Earth Hour lights out event is held worldwide towards the end of March to encourage individuals, households, communities and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.
“Our objective is for people to take action beyond the hour, whether it is supporting a local WWF project or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or starting the movement in their own community. The vision is always to do more, so make the light switch the beginning of your journey.”
Referring to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, the organisers said, “The well-being and health of our supporters and staff is our top priority. Many countries are currently facing a health crisis with the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives from this outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones or who are sick. Given the unprecedented circumstances, the Earth Hour global organising team is advising that Earth Hour is celebrated digitally this year but countries should decide what to do for the best in line with national guidelines.”
Outlined here are several ways people can take part online or at home, and ideas for communities to show support. “If you do decide to continue with an on-the-ground Earth Hour event, please closely follow national health guidelines on hosting large public events and make a decision based on the advice provided by your country’s ministry of health.
“Wherever you are, you can help make this year’s Earth Hour bigger than ever by speaking up for nature loss and and showing your support online by adding your Voice for the Planet.”