Earth Hour 2016 Towards young environmental stewards
Bhutan joined over 178 countries across the world in observing the Earth Hour - a global annual event uniting individuals, communities businesses and organizations to take action for the future of our planet.
To mark the event, individuals and businesses turn off their non-essential lights for one hour at 8.30 p.m. local time to show that they care about our planet. More than 7,000 cities are expected to take part in the world’s largest conservation event, which has grown from a single WWF event in Sydney in 2007.
In line with this year’s Earth Hour theme – “Shine a light on climate action”, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Bhutan went beyond the hour and focused on raising awareness and learning of environmental science at an early age.
With support from the Department of Hydro-Met Services, a Climate Science Centre was set up in Dungkhar Primary School, Lhuntse. The Earth Hour event in Dungkhar, a place where Bhutan’s leadership began, reinforces Bhutan’s contribution and continued leadership in climate action. For instance, during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change Conference of Parties 21 (COP 21) in Paris in December 2015, Bhutan urged nations to speed up negotiations and pledged to remain carbon neutral for all times to come.
The science centre will allow students to measure the daily weather, learn about the environment and discuss climate change. The centre will also inspire students to explore the world around them and to understand how we can live in harmony with nature, and build a safe, clean and healthy environment.
“This year’s theme for Earth Hour is a very important one, especially for Bhutan as we are located in a region most at risk from climate change,” said the Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji. “I encourage all Bhutanese to participate in this global event to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world,” he said.
A tree plantation was also organized in Dungkhar to encourage green initiatives such as planting trees that will eventually contribute to negating the ill effects of climate change and protect watersheds for the well being of Bhutan’s environment and green economy.
WWF Bhutan also collaborated with the Bhutanese media to send Earth Hour messages to every Bhutanese and create awareness on how simple individual efforts such as switching off lights can help Bhutan lead towards a fully carbon neutral economy.