Singapore was hit by uncomfortably warm and dry weather last year, with an increase in the number of days when temperatures soared above 34.1°C (compared to a baseline of 28.3°C). In English, this means:
El Niño, The Little Boy or Christ Child in Spanish, is behind your expensive air-conditioning bills. In the 1600s, a couple of Peruvian fishermen off the coast of South America took notice of a strange weather phenomenon – the warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the Equator.
A visualization of El Niño. Credit: NOAA/ Stuart Rankin
The concurrence of global warming and El Niño means that the Earth is getting a double whammy. The inconvenient truth is that the masses are not taking climate change seriously enough. If John Oliver made an analogy, it would go something like this: "The Earth has regular heartburns, but psshhh does it really? That’s all right – here, have an upsized McDonalds meal with extra greasy fries – and cheer up, mate. It's all in the mind anyway."
60 stands for 60 minutes of Earth Hour where we focus on the impact we are having on the environment and take positive actions. Credit: earthhour.org
Earth Hour took place last week on March 19 at 8.30PM local time. For one hour, all non-essential lights were switched off to shine a light on climate action. TBNG sat down with Jun Rong, President of SMU Verts, our official environmental club, to discuss the Earth Hour message.
What do you think about Earth Hour?
It is quite humbling to know that millions of other people are coming together in that one hour to show support for the Earth that we share, and to send a message of inspiration for our future, as every action today counts towards deciding what tomorrow will look like.
What works about the campaign (and what doesn’t?)
What really works about Earth Hour is its simplicity, and it doesn’t take much to show your support for the campaign and the environmental issues. It started in 2007 with the pioneer lights-off event in Sydney, Australia. Since then, its impact has spread to over 170 countries and territories around the world. In 2015, more than 10,400 of the world’s most iconic landmarks had their lights switched off in support of the campaign. Granted, switching off your lights each year might not seem like much, but Earth Hour’s aim is to shine a light on pressing environmental concerns. Since its inception, it has supported many campaigns befitting the environment, ranging from governments passing out bills to protect marine areas to education programs for schools. Additionally, in 2014 with the launch of Earth Hour Blue, a crowdsourcing platform, people can utilize social media to add their voice to environmental campaigns and if they like, to financially support and deliver tangible changes to the environment through this platform.
That being said, for the remaining 8759 hours of the year, environmental concerns should still be on our mind. It doesn’t have to be the biggest act – even recycling a plastic bag or reducing the amount of takeaway meals you have adds to a lasting impact for our future. The power to #ChangeClimateChange is in everyone’s hands.
What did you do during Earth Hour itself?
For 2016, Earth Hour Singapore’s campaign is to raise awareness and support on protecting our forests and stopping haze pollution in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. SMU Verts, together with the Office of Facilities Management supported the campaign by switching off all non-essential lights throughout campus, as well as lights in Li Ka Shing Library Building and SMU Labs from 8.30PM to 9.30PM.
“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” – Sir Winston Churchill