What We Can Learn from Earth Hour during the Pandemic

ByKen Hu

March 27, 2020

Ken Hu

A Global Approach to Global Problems

With COVID-19 sweeping the planet and putting much of the world in lockdown, broader, longer-term issues like the environment tend to – understandably – take a backseat.

While the spread of the coronavirus is a much more immediate concern for individuals, families, and nations, we can still find parallels with the environmental issues that humanity faces: Both are global problems that transcend borders and cultures. Both are crises that have the potential to affect everyone. And both can get worse if we don’t work together to stop them – whether that involves self-isolating or developing a vaccine, or taking steps to live a greener life, or getting directly involved in environmental projects.

With so many people across the planet self-isolating, now is an opportunity to reflect not just on keeping safe during the pandemic, but also on the commonalities that bind us all: we live in a global context, we are vulnerable to the same global threats, and we face the same fears.

While we can look forward to a time when the pandemic has passed, the environmental trajectory that we’re on has the potential to not just impact us, but also future generations. That’s why the environment, Earth Hour, and Earth Day shouldn’t stay in the backseat of our collective consciousness, even if the threats aren’t as immediate.

Did You Know?

  • Biodiversity has decreased by 52% in the last 50 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Index, and the size of vertebrate populations have declined by 60% on average.
  • If current trends continue, the Earth’s rainforests could disappear within 40 years.
  • Around 1 million species face extinction, according to the UN.
  • We currently consume the resource equivalent of 1.75 planets.
  • More than 1.8 million people lack sufficient access to fresh water.
By Dzmitry Palubiataka/shutterstock.com. An aerial example of illegal logging, the primary source of deforestation that destroys the rainforest habitats of flora and fauna

So What Can We Do?

I believe that technologies like cloud, 5G, IoT, and AI can and are making a difference to protect the environment and biodiversity, as well as having an immediate impact on helping combat the coronavirus, including diagnosing it. But as is the case with any global issue, a concerted effort is needed to raise awareness, draw in as many people as possible, and create the partnerships that result in concrete action.

Originating as a “lights out” event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has since grown to engage millions of people across the globe and raise awareness about environmental issues. This year’s Earth Hour asked people to switch off their lights at home on March 28, 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time. In response to the pandemic, earthhour.org recommended that everyone put safety first and focus on the virtual aspects of the event.

All of us – both individuals and organizations – have a responsibility to do what we can to fight global issues together, both those that are immediate and those that are integral to moving forward together.

That’s why I took part in Earth Hour and why I hope you do too. Click the link to read more about what we’re doing to help safeguard the environment and make sure that you find out about Earth Day on April 22.

[Post updated, April 17]


Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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Ken Hu

Deputy Chairman, Huawei

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