Covid-19 crisis not a solution to climate change, but a learning opportunity: Earth Hour 2020 organiser

Over 150 landmarks and buildings, including businesses, hotels, malls, and attractions, turned off their lights for an hour at 8.30pm to mark Earth Hour.
Over 150 landmarks and buildings, including businesses, hotels, malls, and attractions, turned off their lights for an hour at 8.30pm to mark Earth Hour.PHOTOS: WWF-SINGAPORE
Earth Hour 2020 in Singapore was livestreamed online on March 28 for the first time due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Earth Hour 2020 in Singapore was livestreamed online on March 28 for the first time due to the Covid-19 outbreak.PHOTO: EARTHHOUR.SG

SINGAPORE - The coronavirus crisis is not a solution to climate change, but there are many parallels between the two crises which governments can learn from, said the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore.

Ms Janissa Ng, spokesman for WWF-Singapore, told The Straits Times: "This global health crisis can be an opportunity for countries to learn that urgent and decisive national-level action can turn a crisis around.

"We need the same response from governments when it comes to addressing the climate emergency, but many countries continue to fall behind on their targets."

Ms Ng also noted that, with the current Covid-19 crisis, many people are experiencing firsthand for the first time what food security concerns are, the implications of global supply chains being disrupted, and what it feels like to have their lives disrupted.

These issues are also scenarios that are part of the climate emergency, she said.

She added: "What we can learn from our current experience is that a united front and wise national decisions are key to mitigating crises. We are also learning that lifestyle changes are possible. The lessons learnt should put us in a stronger position to address other global challenges that come our way."

Her comments came ahead of Earth Hour 2020 in Singapore, which was livestreamed online on Saturday (March 28) for the first time due to the Covid-19 outbreak here.

Started in Sydney in 2007, WWF's Earth Hour event is now a global one marked in more than 180 countries.

Last year's Earth Hour event was a three-day carnival at Marina Bay Sands' Event Plaza. It hosted activities centred on reusability and zero-waste practices as well as a live concert featuring home-grown acts such as pop-rock band 53A, pop singer Tabitha Nauser and indie band Subsonic Eye.

But this year, artists and panellists, including Nathan Hartono, Benjamin Kheng and Inch Chua, performed and spoke live from their homes in a three hour livestream, with no more than 10 people gathered in any of these locations.

WWF-Singapore said that this was in order to adhere to the Health Ministry's new restrictions on events and public gatherings here.

 

One thing remained the same this year, however: The iconic "lights-out" event across the island.

Over 150 landmarks and buildings, including businesses, hotels, malls, and attractions, turned off their lights for an hour at 8.30pm to mark Earth Hour.

This year WWF-Singapore, together with local environmental groups such as LepakinSG, SG Climate Rally and Zero Waste SG, also launched an open letter to Singapore's political leaders, businesses, institutions and schools.

It is meant to provide a platform for those here to share their concerns about the environment.

Those who wish to contribute to the open letter can visit Earth Hour 2020's website.

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