The UAE Earth Hour Is Not About Darkness


Tonight — at 8.30pm — do your part for Mother Earth and turn off your lights. Earth Hour, observed on the last Saturday of March every year, is more than just 60 minutes of darkness in your home: It’s a symbol of support, a catalyst for urgent change.

This year is set to be another important moment for the Earth Hour movement, with more than 140 countries and territories coming together to highlight and invite action on the environmental issues most relevant to them. In the Emirates, Earth Hour is not just an hour, but a commitment to a green, sustainable lifestyle.

“The UAE is doing quite a lot in building on the sustainability plans for the future,” said Dubai resident Michelle Silva.

“Government utility entities keep encouraging citizens and residents to go green, as they share tips on how people can be careful with their consumption. Green belts are also being created across the country, motivating residents to step out and enjoy the outdoors.”

Small, simple steps can help build a healthy, green society, Silva added. “Be more mindful in using running water. Cut down on plastic consumption, and use reusable bags when shopping.”

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.

As Earth Hour events go online tonight, millions of people, businesses and leaders from around the world will shine a spotlight on the urgent need to address nature loss and climate change.

Emirates Nature-WWF is inviting the UAE community to participate in the first-ever Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight event, by sharing a video that will help highlight the planet and the issues it faces today.

It is an opportunity for civil society organisations, individuals, businesses and environmentalists to take a stand and help set nature on a path to recovery by 2030.

“Human health and the health of our environment are inextricably linked. Our collective resilience, well-being, nutrition, and ability to avert disease is fully connected to the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the ways we interact with nature,” said Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director-general of Emirates Nature-WWF.

“Along with dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, 2020 was also the year when nature and biodiversity rose to the top of the political and corporate agenda like never before, and when the interdependence of nature, climate, and health crises was strongly recognised by UAE leadership.”

The UAE’s green agenda is encapsulated in a comprehensive Environmental Policy, which was approved late last year. It has set a target to cut energy consumption by 40 per cent by 2030 — and by 2050, 50 per cent of electricity in the country will be clean and emission-free.

“The UAE, despite its climate and topographical challenges, has always been mindful of nature. Just look at all the nature and wildlife conservation projects, and the landscaping using indigenous plant species or those that cope well with this environment,” said Leonard Rego and Nasser Rego, founders of SoWeGrow.

In fact, the UAE’s vision for the environment and food security has also been encouraging more residents to rediscover their green thumbs, they added. SoWeGrow, for example, helps home gardeners grow organic vegetables in their balcony or backyard, without chemicals and synthetic pesticides. Residents learn it all through’s online knowledge products and one-on-one consulting over Zoom.

This article has been adapted from its original source.