We asked 11 people to reflect on Earth Hour 2020 and here is what they have to say
In the midst of social distancing and restricted movement due to Covid-19, how can we commemorate Earth Hour better as we reflect on where we fit in this grand ecosystem.
Even though it is Earth Hour tonight, many big events to commemorate this initiative have been cancelled around the globe due to social distancing and movement restrictions in midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The situation has also greatly affected people’s lives as we begin to re-evaluate our place on this planet. We also hear news from around the world of significant positive impacts on the environment such as reduced carbon emissions, clearer skies and the Venice Grand Canals running clear.
We asked a few individuals on how social distancing and restricted movement has impacted their life and how that in turn, affected their relationship with the planet. We also wanted to know what will they be doing for Earth Hour this year.
Actor, Singer and Artistic Director of Bobo Kuala Lumpur
I'm wondering what our new normal is going to be once this is over. Will we need to be more like the Japanese who practice social distancing as part of their culture? I'm more aware of the fact that we need to co-exist with Mother Nature and not take things for granted.
Social distancing from another human being is one thing, but I do not like distancing myself from nature; and can't wait to see the ocean, feel the sand and smell the trees up close again. I've always been an animal and nature lover but I feel this period has taught me to walk the talk more and to be more of an advocate than I have previously been with regards to animal rights and other plights pertaining to planet Earth; ocean and forest protection in particular.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: Being at home!
Independent Broadcast Journalist
As a media professional, the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measures to flatten the curve have deeply impacted the scope and scale of all my work. Facing people: be it meeting large groups of new people or individuals, forms the backbone of all the work I do, has currently grind to a complete halt, which has made me truly appreciate the simplest of human connection elements one takes for granted.
My relationship with the planet has evolved into that of a far more conscious consumer, I’ve noticed that I’m mindful of the supplies bought during my weekly grocery shopping. I’ve also been very glad to have the spare time to consistently amplify via my social media channels - the fundraising efforts of various NGO’s and also donated where I am able, according to a schedule. Aiding our most marginalised communities, particularly the Orang Asli who suffer so deeply during times of crisis, is absolutely essential.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: By taking things slow and taking that hour to truly soak in the silence from my balcony. It will be nice to just stop and take time to really listen to the sounds of the night.
Since the start of the Movement Control Order, I believe some of you may probably feel uneasy, especially during the first few days, you might have felt a bit moody, stressed, worried and anxious because you were forced to change your daily routine and businesses have been badly affected, too.
No matter how bad things might seem, there could be a silver lining to it. For example, in the last few days, I realised that the sky was bluer and the clouds were much whiter! Even the air has been much fresher. Under the MCO, people are less active, could this be a good thing for our planet? The less human activity, the less damage to the planet. It is probably time to give Mother Earth a break. Perhaps we should consider changing our way of life and our daily routine post-MCO, because these changes could be beneficial to ourselves, our family, and the Mother Earth.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: Sixty minutes of not using electricity; no TV, no air-con, and grounded at home. We need a challenge. Let's challenge ourselves and see what we can discover! Stay Well!
Film and Theatre Maker
The quarantine has impacted my life in a few ways. I was supposed to start work on a project the day the Restriction Movement Order was announced and as someone who works in film and theatre, not being physically there halts most, if not, all work to do with the project. Aside from that, I’ve also not been able to physically see and embrace my family who I’m very close to. The worst impact has probably been on my mental health as someone who suffers from anxiety and depression.
However, I have found solace in my relationship with the earth. I sit on my balcony a lot just witnessing the change in the atmosphere. I outline the mountains in the distance and look for the blue in the sky. A good thing that has come out of all of this is how much more aware I’ve become when it comes to my actions and how they impact our planet. I’ve cut down on plastic and waste and even made sure to cut down on my consumption of water.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I’ll probably do the usual, switch off all the lights and sit in my living room with my husband playing Magic The Gathering with a torchlight. I’m also going to take a moment to enjoy the quiet and stillness.
Zero-Waste Advocate, Model, Actress
I'm someone who likes staying home anyway, and I usually batch up my meetings in a single day thus reducing my transit to once or twice in a week, hence minimising my carbon impact from transportation.
The quarantine has taught me that every method I use as a zero-waste advocate, I can bring it even further; such as not going out at all if possible too! My experience being a zero-waste advocate really helped me transition into our new 'normal' a little easier, thus allowing me to increase self-sustaining measures in my life.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: Contrary to the norm, I've never commemorated Earth Hour by switching off the lights before. I'll spend Earth Hour sharing thoughts on how to be climate friendly and reduce our impact with zero-waste tips for home.
Personal Trainer and Founder of Joompa
Honestly, I’ve always been someone who prioritises local produce and tries to live with as small a carbon footprint as possible but with work on hold I no longer spend 3 hours a day in my little car travelling to and from coaching my clients.
I’ve been lucky enough to escape to the paddy fields of Langkawi and stay in touch with nature but movement is still restricted so I can’t do what I love and run trails in the forest. Still, it’s amazing to see the statistics on how the earth is healing with reduced industrial output, though my heart goes out to those who are impacted badly.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I’ve been onto the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) website to raise my voice in the pledge, encouraging the government to make saving the Malayan Tiger a national priority after years of numbers plummeting. We’re now below 200 tigers and we need our policy makers to take serious action before it’s too late.
Due to my work, I still have to go to the studio every other week. Thank goodness for technology, a lot still can be done when I am at home. Working out is a drag but you get creative with new ways to work out from home.
We have more time for reflection. Actually, I have gotten more time to think about my life and the harsh reality of what happens when you're not prepared. What has happened globally makes it so obvious how we are all interconnected. This virus shows how when we mess with nature, it can come back and bite us from behind.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: Pray, meditate and quiet reflection. This situation has really given the earth the time to rest and restore. We have really been abusing it and so maybe it's time for us to reset and restart again, hopefully wiser when things improve.
I'm an extrovert so the first week of restricted movement was really hard. I have since obeyed the Restricted Movement Order and I haven't left the house at all. However, I've been extremely productive; creating content because I have lots of time to write, shoot and edit. And I've been working out every single day with all of extra time I have now.
Honestly, I used to take for granted that I could go jogging outdoors or travel to the beach, but, once it's safe to go out, I'll appreciate every moment. I also heard from the news about our environment healing, because our pollution levels are going down. So, I'm excited for Mother Nature to heal.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I've been on my phone and laptop a lot during this Restriction Movement Order. So besides turning off my lights for an hour, I will also put my phone away and switch it to silent-mode to be really present.
Radio Announcer and Lecturer
Social Distancing has definitely changed how we work, play and learn. As a university lecturer, I have been conducting “blended learning” for my students. As a radio presenter, I’m now asked to pre-record my weekend live shows. I don’t see my students and I see much less of my colleagues, friends and even siblings. The world has become quieter and hence there is a sense of humility. Everyone is vulnerable to Covid-19.
It has been reported that how decreases in industrial, transportation, and business activity since the Covid-19 outbreak has relatively reduced air pollution, if I might add, noise pollution as well. Under Covid-19 lockdown, everything has become scarce and I have never been so grateful for our planet earth that provides resources for all life.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I turn off the lights at home and light some candles. Hopefully, at 9:30 this evening, we will all turn on our switches and find ourselves in a better world.
Sex Positive Advocate, Talent Manager
It has in a way made me powerless because I am not able to leave my house whenever I want to or even if I do, I have this fear of potentially being exposed to being infected by Covid-19, thus prompting paranoia.
However, on the positive aspect, being at home does encourage me to cook more and allowing me to spend more time at home, which results to having less carbon footprint, energy wastage and rubbish. I am much more aware of the rubbish I create and find means to reduce it the best I can in order to lessen my need to leave the house to take my trash out.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I’ve always been switching off my lights every Earth Hour, so I’ll be doing just that!
The unprecedented Restricted Movement Order has indeed come to many as a shock. It is not only imposed in Malaysia, but also in many countries around the world. This challenging period for humankind has since evolved into something good for the planet - clearer waters in Venice and reduced air pollution as observed by NASA. It is such an irony!
As we continue to consume the Earth’s natural resources, we are gradually marginalising ourselves and all other living creatures. I sincerely hope that after this experience, everyone will appreciate and cherish the earth, so that our Mother Nature can thrive forever.
How you will commemorate Earth Hour this year: I am “grounded” at home this year, so I plan to listen to some music at home. Since I am now getting used to living alone and don't really like the place too brightly lit, I will only turn on a lamp in the hallway.
The Last Straw News will be launching a sub-site to bring you tips and resources as we get through this period of social distancing and restricted movement in containing and reducing Covid-19 infections. Watch this space for updates to come.