‘Saving the planet’ was never on my agenda growing up. It seemed too big a task to accomplish. And save it from what exactly? The naive five-year-old me thought to myself, “Whatever it is, I’m sure the grownups will take care of it”. But the ‘save the planet’ chants only echoed louder as I grew older. Once again, I found my mind engulfed in confusion. Didn’t we have someone in charge of handling this? Who this ‘someone’ was, now that was an answer that eluded me. Funny thing is, I still don’t know the answer.
When I heard stories about glaciers melting, forests catching fire or oceans being polluted, I had this inherent belief that someone would put their foot down and do something about it. As I entered adulthood, that belief slowly but surely manifested itself into a feeling of helplessness.
The city dweller that I am, my immediate surroundings remained unaffected. But I had to take a look under the carpet to spot what we had swept underneath all along- this impending sense of doom that comes with facing this sad truth: Our relationship with this planet was broken.
Regrets stacked themselves into neat piles in my mind. Could I not have carried my own grocery bag? Could I not have held on to that tiny piece of garbage a little while longer till I found a dustbin to throw it into? Did I really need to purchase multiple pieces of clothing? Could I not have found an alternative for the several plastic items in my home? Every decision I made for my personal comfort and desire, was directly or indirectly putting my beloved planet in discomfort. The air I breathe, the oceans I love swimming in, the mountains whose views I enjoy and the trees whose shade provides respite from the scorching heat of the summers - all of it was in jeopardy because of me.
But just when I was ready to wallow in despair, I thought to myself ‘Maybe everyone feels this way.’ Maybe we all just need to be reminded we aren’t alone. There is no solution to be found in a vicious cycle of the ‘blame game’. But there is strength in numbers. Together, we might just have the power to do something we never thought we could - shape our future.
Earth Hour for me, is a beacon of hope. I had been hearing about it since secondary school but it's only when I became an adult did I internalise the message Earth Hour was trying to send out all along. We all switch off our lights for an hour and in that one hour, the hope I harboured as a child, rebuilds itself with every passing minute. Knowing that people from around the world are willing to take a stand each year and show their support for this beautiful planet and for each other makes me happy because it shows that there is indeed power in unity and collective action.
So whether it's reconnecting with nature, having a delicious candle-lit dinner with your loved ones or volunteering for special causes to give back to your community; I encourage everyone to switch off and spend the Hour with us - and if you don't know where to start, here are a few ideas.
Earth Hour 2022 offers us a moment for solidarity, and the opportunity to come together, look after each other and the one home we all share. Somewhere, a five-year-old child believes that the grown-ups will take care of all the scary stuff. Let’s prove them right.
Nikita is an External Communications Intern at WWF International working on the Earth Hour Global team and is currently pursuing her Masters in Media and Communication at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Singapore. She believes in the power of the written word to stir a meaningful conversation about causes she is passionate about and create change.