KARACHI: The World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) officially inaugurated Earth Hour (EH) 2017 at Alliance Francaise de Karachi on Wednesday by unveiling its celebrity ambassadors for the largest volunteer movement across the world.
EH 2017 celebrities included renowned actor, model and documentary filmmaker Adnan Malik, popular VJ and model Anoushey Ashraf, and leading actor, radio host and singer Khalid Malik. The theme for the current year is 'shine a light on climate change'.
Speaking on the occasion, Ali Dehlavi, Regional Head of Sindh and Balochistan, WWF-Pakistan said that climate change poses a fundamental threat to everything around us. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and new and more frequent weather extremes such as heatwaves and super floods will leave no continent untouched. Referring to a study titled 'Climate Change Adaptation in the Indus Ecoregion' he shared that one of the key findings of the study was that climate change will likely have a large cost on agricultural productivity in Pakistan. In particular, by 2040 assuming a 0.5 Degrees Celsius increase in average nationwide temperatures, an 8-10 per cent loss is expected across all crops corresponding to PKR 30,000 per acre. He lamented shrinking water supplies, lowering crop yields, burning forests, and the increasing acidity of our oceans. 'This has huge implications for our livelihoods and human security, therefore, we need to take action against climate adaptation and mitigation,' he asserted.
Adnan Malik said that Earth Hour gives people an opportunity to go beyond the usual limitations and look at the bigger picture before them. He discouraged the use of plastic bags and instead promoted reusable ones, such as those made from jute. He also shared that he joined this campaign to fulfil his part as a responsible global citizen and ignite a much-needed change, not only in the collective perception, but also through practical action. 'We must all come together to work for a better and healthy environment and make every possible effort to tackle this issue.'
Anoushey Ashraf stated that climate change and environmental challenges are not prioritized in Pakistan. However, there is a dire need to create awareness among people about these issues. She was of the view that nature does not need humans, but humans need nature. Earth Hour is significant in the way that it brings the whole world together for one noble cause. People have started to realize that the environment has a huge impact on their lives and every positive step creates a long-term benefit for them and the world. She emphasized that every citizen should pledge to plant a tree and tackle climate change impacts.
Malik said that switching off unnecessary lights for an hour may seem like a small act, but collectively the magnitude of this gesture is unimaginable. We need to conserve water resources in the country and adopt sustainable ways of living. He also shared that a commitment to Earth Hour enables us not only to express our concern for our planet, but to also let the world know that we stand together to find solutions to the rapidly escalating climate crisis. He emphasized the need to change the attitudes of people about the environment so that we leave a healthy planet for future generations. 'I hope that as an ambassador for Earth Hour 2017 and a goodwill ambassador for WWF-Pakistan, we can encourage and inspire the citizens of Pakistan to be a part of this global change and secure a better environment for ourselves and for future generations,' he affirmed.
Umair Shahid, North Indian Ocean Coordinator, WWF-Pakistan said that amongst the many challenges that our country faces, biodiversity loss is one of them. He informed that change in temperature is affecting the sex ratio of the turtle population, however, there is lack of data regarding the impacts of climate change on the population of different species. He informed that drastic changing in weather patterns also are adversely impacting water bodies. We are championing this campaign to give a strong message to the world that Pakistan cares about its rich flora and fauna and is taking practical measures for its conservation. He also shared that in order to make a safer world, WWF-Pakistan is working with local communities, helping ecosystems adapt to rapid change, speeding up the renewable energy transition, and cutting the emissions that drive climate change. He hoped that more people will join them this year by switching off unnecessary lights and adopting a positive attitude towards mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Earth Hour is the world's largest grassroots movement to combat climate change. It started from Sydney, Australia in 2007. It has grown to become a global movement that now involves every continent across the globe. Earth Hour invites people everywhere to voluntarily switch off all unnecessary lights for one hour as a symbolic act to show their commitment to saving the planet. In 2016 EH celebrations, 178 countries and territories participated with more than 400 iconic landmarks switched off lights, cementing their place as the largest grassroots campaign in history. EH 2017 will be observed on Saturday, 25 March from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM all over the world.