Earth Hour promotes climate action

When WWF’s Earth Hour climate event was first held in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, there were relatively many climate sceptics. Now, over ten years later, the event has grown into a global movement and there were participants from 188 countries last year. At the same time, objections against the notion that people have accelerated climate change have decreased considerably. Some even speak of a post-IPCC report era. This refers to the report published last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the information it brought about the urgency to fight climate change.

The IPCC report showed that the difference between a global warming scenario of two degrees and of 1.5 degrees is significant. We must restrict the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees to avoid extremely damaging consequences to people and nature. How is this done?

Earth Hour is known for its dark hour as millions of people, businesses and public buildings around the world turn off unnecessary lights for an hour on the last Saturday of March. This is not an event to save energy, but a symbolic gesture which shows our concern for climate change and a demand for swift action from decision-makers to control climate change. Last year 1.5 million Finns participated in Earth Hour in one way or another.

In Finland, WWF encourages people during Earth Hour to make a climate-friendly decision on their dinner plates by choosing vegetables or sustainably caught fish instead of meat

The IPCC report states that the goal of 1.5 degrees is unlikely to be achieved without changes in diets. At the moment we simply eat the living space of wild nature and accelerate climate change with our excessive meat consumption. A Finnish person on average eats 81 kilograms of meat a year. For the sake of our environment, this amount should be reduced – red meat should be eaten at most once a week and chicken a few times a week.

In Finland we are lucky, because many food companies have understood that the meals of tomorrow are heavy in vegetables. A lot of new, delicious plant-based food products have entered the markets. More and more delicious vegetarian and fish recipes are available in all sorts of channels. Meat consumption can thus be reduced without having to sacrifice taste. It is easy for me to turn off the lights on Saturday the 30th of March at 20:30 and enjoy a vegetarian dinner in candlelight. Many restaurants which serve good, climate-friendly food are also participating in Earth Hour. See the events at

The climate and environmental actions of all citizens are important

The goal of 1.5 degrees is however so demanding that changes are also required in political decisions, such as what is financed, what is encouraged, and what requires restrictive legislation. Fortunately investors today have the opportunity to choose what they invest in by examining corporate responsibility. Asset managers should be actively asked about their responsible investment practices. That is today’s way.

Kati Malmelin

Director business cooperation

WWF Finland