GUWAHATI, Mar 26: Earth Hour 2018 was celebrated on Saturday, 24 March from 8:30 to 9:30 pm, local time. As skylines around the country go dark, thousands united across the worldto celebrate WWF’s Earth Hour and take a stand against biodiversity loss. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, the India Gate, the Red Fort and other prominent landmarks in India switched off their lights in solidarity as individuals, communities and organizations across the countrycame together to Give Up on habits and practices that are environmentally detrimental and deliver on their potential to build sustainable lifestyles, reduce their footprint and inspire positive action for the planet.
WWF-India has launching the #GIVEUP TO GIVE BACK initiative, starting Earth Hour 2018. The campaign aims to inspire organisations, institutions and individuals to make the choice to curb some habits, practices and lifestyles, burdening both our lives and the environment and inspire them to choose alternatives to Connect to Earth. While the Earth Hour campaign has consistently focussed on climate change as a key call to action over the last decade, the 2018-2020 campaign broadbases the conversation beyond climate change and calls on people across the world to take action and understand the interconnectivity of people and our environment through relevant issues such as air, water, and energy.
As earlier years, this year too Earth Hour saw unprecedented support from all quarters across India including governments, corporates and organizations, through various innovative Earth Hour events and Give Up pledges. While the switching off of iconic monuments and buildings in India has marked the movement on the night of Earth Hour, various organizations across the country have come forward and pledged to #GiveUp.
Speaking about the campaign, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India, said
“Communicating the link between our daily lives and its impact on the natural world is an integral part of our work at WWF. The environmental challenges we already see today – water scarcity and pollution, food security, depleting natural resources, energy shortages – and the factors that exacerbate them will only increase over the next few years. The Give Up to Give Back initiative for Earth Hour 2018 is our effort to build conversations on sustainable consumption and the need for individuals, businesses and governments to adopt innovative measures to reduce our footprint.”
Mrs. Archita Baruah Bhattacharyya, Coordinator, WWF-India, AAPSO has informed that in Guwahati, “This year, Earth Hour this yearwas observed in various places of Assam, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Besides having the centralized program at Central Mall, Guwahati on 24th March, evening, Walkathon and Cyclothon has been done in association with schools and other voluntary organization.” In line with this year’s theme, 17organisations have already signed LOI to Give Up to Give Back Campaign of Earth hour 2018 for a better planet.”She added “WWF-India AAPSO Earth Hour promo started with volunteers and partner NGOs across North East spreading awareness about the Give Up Movement to Give Back the Planet a better tomorrow. The student volunteers started the campaign with various institutions, organisationsand individuals both Govt. and private, commercial places including Malls and important shopping places, renowned hotels and restaurants of Guwahati ten days before the Earth hour day.
WWF-India AAPSO State Office along with The Youth for Integration organization from Tripura organized a Walkathon with local citizens as a part of the Earth Hour kick start on 14th of March in Agartala.
On 23rd March morning, WWF-India along with Suderashan Public School organized a Walkathon with 300 students, teachers and WWF volunteers as a promotion for Earth Hour and to spread awareness about the event to reach out to a large number of citizens.
On 24th March morning WWF-India AAPSO along with Gauhati University and PedalRoads’ Cycles organized a Cyclothon to start the Earth Hour celebrations in Guwahati. The Cyclothonwas flagged off at 6:30 a.m. by Shri Kashinath Hazarika, WWF AAPSO Advisorat SBI Circle Ganeshguri. Another group of cyclists joined at Gauhati University/ Prof.(Dr.) Prasanta Kumar Saikia, Dept. of Zoology. GU was present to support the event.
On 24th evening WWF-India AAPSO organized a cultural program at Central Mall, Guwahati to celebrate the Switch Off moment from 8:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. by using only solar lights in the stage area from GreenLight Planet, decorated by writing Assam 60+ with earthen Diyas and bamboo on the ground and holding candles. Mrs. Archita Baruah Bhattacharyya addressed the audience and explained the need to observe Earth Hour and the necessity to Give Up to Give Back the planet. The official video of EH was shown along with a video compiled of bytes from various organization heads. Cultural performances started with students from Suderashan Public School performed a beautiful Flash Mob with 45 students which carried message of humans living in harmony with animals, dance performance from NEF Law College and Cotton University students and singing performance by students from Gauhati Universty & Cotton University, a Flute recital by a student from AEI, Chandmari and a band – The Simplified. Singer Nilotpal Bora mesmerized the audience by singing his renowned hit song “Majuli” and another newly released song. He was present to support WWF Earth Hour and said that the need of the hour to Give Up which is the theme of EH 2018. Prof. (Dr.) Prasanta Kumar Saikia, GU graced the event and also addressed the august gathering.
There was spontaneous switch-off in support of the cause from 8.30 to 9.30 pm. Tremendous support was received from Government including APDCL and GMC. Central Mall was a partner to this year’s celebration and its team lead by General Manager Gautam Mukherjee provided all support to observe Earth Hour. Besides many Malls, EH was also observed at the hostels of Gauhati University and IIT, Cotton University, DPS Guwahati, ESI C Model Hospital, India Club, Novotel Hotel, Taj- Vivanta, etc. and in many other places of Assam viz. Biswanath Chariali College, EDP College Nagaon, Central University -Tezpur, Assam Valley School etc. by switching off non-essential lights for WWF Earth hour.
Few environmental NGOs from the states of Nagaland – Earth Friendly Generation (EFG), The Youth for Integration organization – Tripura and Meghalaya- Hima Khad-Ar Lyngdoh Confederation on Sport & Art partnered with WWF-India AAPSO to carry the campaign in their respective states with host of programs on Earth Hour day.
Different private and government organizations’, Institution heads and individuals have pledged to support the “Give Up” campaign of WWF-India by Giving up Paper Waste, Electronic Waste, Food Waste, Water Waste, Excess Plastic Waste, Energy Emissions and Transport Emissions.
Apart from the above mentioned institutions and organizations, Apollo Hospital Guwahati, Radisson Blu, Sony Showroom, Roodraksh Mall, Pizza Hut – Dona Planet, FICCI-FLO, GTAC,AADI-Advertising & Publicityand Govt. organizations like APDCL, GMC, AEDA, Srimanta Sankardev Kalakhetra, Rabindra Bhavan, Gauhati High Court, have supported Earth Hour 2018. Many others have also voiced their support for the cause.