My Earth Hour Story
When Andy Ridley, the co-founder of Earth Hour, hired me back in 2012, I thought I had been given the world’s coolest job. Earth Hour was (and still is) one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment. It had a fun, dynamic team that was digitally savvy and creative in coming up with ways to support, engage with and amplify the voices of Earth Hour supporters around the world, from big cities to rural towns to small island communities. It was an eye-opening experience, and a dream come true for me to work for such a noble cause.
Three years into that job, I had my first child, Maya. And as fate would have it, she arrived on the day before Earth Hour in 2015. Barely 20 hours after she was born, I changed her out of her hospital outfit into an Earth Hour onesie (of course she had to be ‘on brand’!) and, together with my husband and my best friend, we switched off the lights in the ward at 8:30pm and celebrated Maya’s first Earth Hour.
As I held my newborn child in the dark room, a realisation hit me. The cause that I had been working for — to protect the environment for future generations, had up to that point been rather abstract for me. The phrase “future generations” brought to mind people living far in the future, with unimaginable technology and possibly a fashion sense straight out of a sci-fi movie. But in that moment, with my baby in my arms, it suddenly hit me that she was part of that future generation. And if we don’t do something now to stop climate change and nature loss, the consequences that I’ve read about in all those scientific reports are going to be part of her everyday reality when she grows up. Suddenly, my job took on a whole new meaning. I now had a very real personal stake in it.
I’m sure most parents experience the same: the moment we become parents, we are filled with immense courage and fear at the same time. Courage, because we know we will fight, change or do whatever we can in our power to give our children the safest and best life possible; fear, because from that moment on, we will never stop worrying about the safety and well-being of our children.
A year after Maya was born, we produced an Earth Hour video that felt the most ‘personal’ to me. It featured school children talking about their future. The children described in vivid detail their dream homes and dream jobs, their eyes filled with joyful anticipation. Then we asked them about the environment. They were quick to connect the dots and started sharing with us their worries about the future due to the deteriorating environment. It really encapsulated what I feel is the greatest goal of all our efforts, to preserve and protect the planet so that our children, and our children’s children can continue to pursue their dreams.
This year, I am celebrating my ninth Earth Hour. I am as passionate about this campaign, if not more, as the day Andy Ridley hired me. I would not be where I am today without all the inspiring individuals who have shown me that making real impacts is possible no matter who you are or where you live. From the five-year-old Greek boy who gave up his chocolate for a week in challenging his neighbors to green their balconies, to the two Libyan students that started the first environmental movement in their country post civil war, to people-powered legislative changes in Russia, Argentina, Ecuador and so many more, Earth Hour is about how each one of us can make a difference, small or big, for our planet — the one home we all share.
Join me and switch off this Saturday on 27th March at 8:30 pm your local time. Together we can shine a virtual spotlight on our planet by taking one simple action online — let’s make sure all the children in the world will still have a beautiful planet to call home when they grow up.