Energy, Opinion, Technology

What we can learn from Earth Hour during the pandemic

Ken Hu, Deputy Chairman at Huawei Technologies, explains what we can learn from Earth Hour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Ken Hu, Deputy Chairman at Huawei Technologies on earth hour
Ken Hu, Deputy Chairman at Huawei Technologies

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 get 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 and Earth Hour 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.
  • We currently consume the resource equivalent of 1.75 planets.
  • More than 1.8 million people lack sufficient access to freshwater.

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 diagnosing the coronavirus. 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.

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, recommends that everyone put safety first and focus on the virtual aspects of the event.

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

That’s why I took part in Earth Hour and why I hope other people did too. Click the links to read more about what we’re doing to help safeguard the environment.

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