As climate change continues to pose a threat to places, species and people’s livelihoods, almost 500 Guyanese joined WWF Guianas, Guyana Office and its partners on Saturday, March 25th, at the Thomas Lands Parking Lot of the National Park to celebrate the largest environmental event in the world: ‘Earth Hour’, and to shine a light on climate action.
The event at the National Park was the main and final act of a month of activities, celebrations, events and school awareness sessions all throughout Guyana. The Environment Days alone, led by the High Commission of Canada, the Embassy of Mexico and the Embassy of Brazil, gathered around the topics of Earth Hour a total of almost 200 persons, who attended the three cultural activities proposed: two movie screenings and a concert.
Schools across the country played a big role in the ChangeClimateChange challenge launched by WWF Guyana. Through the Awareness Sessions in 17 schools across Regions 4, 5, 6 and 10, 350 primary and secondary school students were targeted, to discuss climate change and its impacts. This activity was a collaborative effort between CYEN in Guyana and the Office of Climate Change. Similarly, the ‘Youth Shining A Light On Climate Action’ Earth Hour Debate Competition, saw students from three secondary schools debating topics that addressed the three Earth Hour thematic areas. In attendance were approximately 160 students and guests, over a total of 3 days of competition.
Moreover, added to the celebrations at the National Park on Earth Hour night, were a series of special events: candlelit dinners held at the Iwokrama River Lodge and Pegasus Hotel Guyana, story-telling under the stars in Annai, North Rupununi and the switching-off of both Marriott
Guyana and Pegasus Hotel Guyana’s hotel signs as a show of their support to Earth Hour and its message. Over 100 persons attended the events in the interior (at Iwokrama and in the Rupununi), and indigenous communities embraced Earth Hour, causing it to become an opportunity to bring back to life traditional ways of gathering around fires all together.
Partners were key in making all these activities happen and in pushing Guyana’s climate awareness forward.
Focusing on three thematic areas relevant to Guyana ‒ Agriculture, Conserva-tion and Biodiversity and Renewable Energy ‒ the main celebration at the National Park in fact saw presentations and pledges from a number of international and local agencies. These included Ms Mikiko Tanaka, United National Resident Coordinator; Mr Greg Quinn, UK High Commissioner in Guyana; Mr Ivan Sierra Medel, Ambassador of Mexico; Ms Janelle Christian, Head of the Office of Climate Change; Ms Onika Stellingburg, representative of the Department of
Environment; Mr Derek Lambe, Charge d’Affaires, European Union; Ms Jan Sheltinga Deputy of the High Com-mission of Canada; Ms Elizabeth Smith, representative of the US Embassy; Mr Paolo Marchi, Deputy of UNICEF in Guyana; Mr Godfrey Scott, President of CYEN in Guyana; and of course Ms Aiesha Williams, Country Manager of WWF Guianas, Guyana Office.
In addition to these pledges and presentations, the audience was treated to scintillating entertainment pieces from Music Unlimited, Jazz and Poetry On A Stool (JAPOS), GBTI’s Buxton Steel Pride Orchestra, National Dance Company, Happy Feet Dance School, Mr Rovindra Persaud and representatives from the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Guyana.
At 8.30pm there was the symbolic switching-off of non-essential lights, followed by the lighting of the 60+ emblem.
Guyanese and the international community members deployed in Guyana all joined and demonstrated their commitment to change climate change and to take climate action into their daily lives. Every little action can make a difference, and everyone is invited to read and follow the tips featured in the handbook WWF produced for Earth Hour 2017, written by
Michael Harding and available for free download on http://www.guianas.org
The support received from local and international agencies, businesses and citizens for this year’s event is testimony to the fact that together, we can all help to change climate change by both individual and collective actions.
Every hour is Earth Hour, so let us continue to change climate change and make Guyana even greener. As WWF likes to say: “TogetherPossible is the only way to make things happen.”