LAHORE - Pakistan joined 184 nations around the world in celebrations marking the ninth edition of Earth Hour—the movement’s biggest edition yet—in a global moment of solidarity for climate change. Landmarks across the country switched off their lights at 8:30pm on Saturday to stand with millions of people to connect to Earth to combat climate change and protect biodiversity and nature.

The event in Lahore, organized at WWF-Pakistan’s Head Office, hosted by RJ Sophie of Radio FM91, included a live concert by percussionists Quadrum and Space Cassette, an underground band, candle lighting and sky lanterns ceremony with celebrities, corporate partners, guests and pledges by goodwill ambassadors. Hundreds of students and educationists from across the country also vowed to connect to Earth, the theme for Earth Hour this year. 

As part of Earth Hour, people, cities and businesses around the world switched off their lights for one hour to draw attention to the urgent need to step up the fight against climate change and protection of biodiversity. With the historic Paris Agreement on climate change now in full force, there’s never been a more crucial time to hold leaders accountable and show strong public support for efforts to stem climate change. From the Eiffel Tower to Taipei 101 and the Empire State Building to the Acropolis, thousands of landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity as individuals, communities and organisations worldwide delivered on their potential to help change climate change, the planet’s biggest environmental challenge yet. In Pakistan landmarks which switched off lights included DC office Lahore, Avari Hotel, PC Hotel, Wapda House, WASA, LESCO, Fatima Group, Wazir Khan Mosque, Hazori bagh, Trail Dehli Gate, PHA, MCB House, LDA Complex, Parliament House, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Pakistan National Monument, Damn e Koh, Pak-China Friendship centre, Shah Faisal Mosque, Convention Centre, D-Chowk, Lake View park, 7th and 8th Avenues, Sindh Assembly and frère Hall.

Asma Ezdi, Head of Communications and Marketing, WWF-Pakistan said, ‘Pakistan is among top 10 countries affected by climate change and this environmental challenge is already impacting our economy severely. On this Earth Hour, by joining WWF millions of people around the world have shown their commitment for the planet. Switching off all unnecessary lights for one hour is a symbolic gesture. All of us should pledge to take action in our capacity as an individual, business and policy and decision-maker to reduce our footprint, save nature and protect the environment. ‘

Speaking on the day, Dr Uzma Khan, Technical Advisor Wildlife, WWF-Pakistan said, ‘Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to wildlife species and their habitats and also people. We are already seeing the consequences globally, a portion of the iconic Great Barrier Reef has already died, birds migration patterns have changed in Europe, massive floods of 2010 in Pakistan caused losses of Indus River dolphin. In 2008, Tian e Zhou oxbow in China, froze for the first time in the recorded history and finless porpoises injured themselves in the effort to create breathing holes, subsequently at least six died. We have witnessed loss of livelihoods and destruction of villages because of flash floods in Chitral and landslides in GB. Climate change is real, we all are responsible and only our collective actions can help the earth, unless we all decide to move to a different planet.’

The year 2018 marks the eleventh anniversary of Earth Hour, which started as a symbolic event in Sydney in 2007. Today, it is the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, ensuring that people who are on the frontlines of climate change, are also empowered to be the planet’s first line of defence. The one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the movement encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off non-essential lights as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.

Earth Hour events were also celebrated at WWF-Pakistan’s Bahawalpur and Khanewal office as well as Faisalabad in Punjab where students, families and corporate members participated. In other parts of the country, events were organized in Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Nathiagali, Gilgit, and Sukkur.