With evidence pointing towards a close link between nature's destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19, Earth Hour 2021 aims to unite people online in speaking up for nature by virtually bringing together millions of people, businesses and leaders from around the world on March 27 at 8:30 p.m.
This global event comes ahead of key moments when world leaders take critical decisions on nature, climate change and sustainable development.
The occurrence of several catastrophic incidents last year including extreme weather events, devastating wildfires, and the COVID-19 outbreak highlighted that preventing nature loss is crucial for safeguarding the future.
A global assessment of biodiversity targets showed that the world failed to meet the 2020 deadline for achieving the targets set for preventing nature loss a decade ago.
WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said 2021 is "a crucial year for humanity" in recovering from the pandemic.
"As the world tries to turn the tide and recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild itself, we need to put nature at the center of our recovery efforts to future-proof our economies and societies," Lambertini said.
Decade of action
A recent draft of the Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), launched Feb. 5 2021, includes plans to reduce carbon emissions by 75 percent by the year 2030.
This is a sharp increase compared to the less ambitious goal of 30 percent emission reduction by the year 2040, which had been included in a draft that was presented at the end of 2020.
While the country's carbon emission reduction goal is set at 75 percent, only 2 percent is marked as unconditional. Approximately 73 percent, meanwhile, is conditional - which means external support will be needed in order for the Philippines to meet its new, more ambitious climate commitments.
Earth Hour Philippines 2021
Similar to last year, Earth Hour Philippines 2021 will be mostly digital, with several online events held throughout the month of March.
Earth Hour 2021 is asking people to speak up for nature in as many diverse and creative ways as possible.
People from across the globe can share their stories of why nature matters, and come together safely for the switch-off at 8:30 p.m. on March 27.
"Each year, we hear about all the ways in which people try to make this difference for the sake of our home and our planet - and of course, this year is no different," said WWF-Philippines Ambassador Robi Domingo.
Additionally, WWF-Philippines is asking the Filipino public to lend their voices to the movement by sharing their hopes and dreams for the future online, through the #SpeakUpForNature hashtag.
Visit www.earthhour.org to find out more about events happening this Earth Hour around the world, or check WWF-Philippines on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This material is being published as part of ABS-CBN News' partnership with WWF Philippines for Earth Hour 2021.