Today, March 19 2016, we join millions of people in major cities all around the world to mark Earth Hour- a global annual event where individuals, communities and businesses turn off their non-essential lights for one hour at 8:30 pm local time as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiated Earth Hour in 2007 as a way of engaging a broad section of society in the environmental issues challenging citizens across the world. More than 7,000 cities are expected to participate.
This year’s theme for Earth Hour, “Shine a Light on Climate Action”, is a very important one, especially for Bhutan as we are located in a region most at risk from climate change. Climate change is adversely impacting the Himalayas’ biodiversity and ecosystem services through increased temperature, extreme floods, droughts and storms as a result of shifting weather patterns.
With the risk of climate change coupled with increasing human pressures and threats, we must continue enhance monitoring of our ecosystem and equip ourselves with tools to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This is why we urged the countries during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) in Paris last year to speed up negotiations and pledged as a country to remain carbon neutral for all times to come. Bhutan’s contribution to combat climate change is made with the view that there is no need greater, or more important, than keeping the planet safe. Our forests sequester more than 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is four times more than what Bhutan emits. We will continue to lead in climate action.
I encourage all Bhutanese to participate in this global event which aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.
It is my hope that we will all be inspired by joining millions from 7,000 cities around the world for our collective responsibility to protect the only planet we call home.
Let’s take action beyond the hour.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
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