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WWF launches youth Earth Hour campaign

Earth Hour that started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 before becoming a global phenomenon. A conservation organisation — World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) — last week launched the Earth Hour campaign at Murewa High School, Mashonaland East province ahead of the main event set for March 24 in Harare.

environment By Winstone Antonio

WWF Zimbabwe Youth Earth Hour champions at Murewa High School recently
WWF Zimbabwe Youth Earth Hour champions at Murewa High School recently

Earth Hour is an annual global event organised by the WWF found in over 100 countries across the world to spread awareness of environmental issues, especially the fight against climate change.

Speaking at the launch, WWF official Charity Mbirimi said as a result of the success of Earth Hour, they were moving to increase awareness through mass funding initiatives.

“As WWF, our mission is to stop the degradation of the environment. Our task is to educate people to protect the planet. Earth Hour is all about spreading the awareness of environmental issues in our global and local communities,” Mbirimi said.

“WWF Zimbabwe recognises and appreciates the commitment made by government in contributing to the fight against climate change by becoming a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. While various efforts continue at national level, WWF through the Earth Hour campaign, calls on everyone to contribute to saving mother nature in their own way.”

She said this year WWF Zimbabwe, in collaboration with WWF Sweden, are participating in a youth-led Earth Hour campaign that provides an opportunity to think about how people can adopt sustainable practices that contribute to changing climate change under the theme Food and Sustainable Practices.

“As an organisation, we realise that we cannot conserve mother nature alone, hence we value partnerships. The Earth Hour campaign in Zimbabwe under the theme Food and Sustainable Practices is targeting the youth aged between 15 and 34 years, who make up 36% of the population and 56% of the economically-active population, according to census 2012. This campaign theme seeks to challenge our Zimbabwean youth to ask themselves how sustainable their food practices are,” Mbirimi said.

“In reaching out to the youth, this year’s Earth Hour campaign is led by a vibrant team of six WWF Zimbabwe youth Earth Hour champions drawn from government, civil society, private sector and arts industry. These champions are working with four target schools, namely Churchill Boys High, Hurungwe Secondary, Murewa High and Roosevelt Girls High.

“The four schools were selected from a database of Eco schools, based on their continued efforts towards a ‘greener’ environment. In their own way, these schools have partnered WWF to ensure ‘man and nature are living together in harmony’.”

Mbirimi said as the Earth Hour campaign unfolded, youths across Zimbabwe were invited to take advantage of the available various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp to showcase their “sustainable food-related practices”.

She said targeted platforms have also been created for students to participate in competitions on essays, poetry, music (focusing on rap and dancehall genres, with winners to be announced at the Earth Hour March 24 ceremony.
Mbirimi said during the Earth Hour campaign, participants were made aware of the effects of daily activities and their contribution to the degradation of the planet.

“The participants are encouraged to engage in some ‘green activity’ that shows their personal commitment to the planet. Our hope is that with time, these actions turn into habits and ultimately green lifestyles,” she said.
At Murewa High, the day was fun-filled with some demonstrations of green activities through drama and poems and later saw some representatives of Murewa High School and Hurungwe Secondary Schools planting fruit trees, symbolising their commitment to a green environment.
“The planting of fruit trees at Murewa High School and the provision of fruit tree seedlings for the Hurungwe Secondary School orchard are a symbolic gesture to challenge and invite youths across the country to also plant fruit trees in their own spaces under the campaign’s sub theme, A Fruit Tree Today and Food Tomorrow,” she said.

“As mankind gets food and oxygen from these trees, mother nature is also able to use this resource to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and that is contributing towards changing climate change. However, it is important to note that impact can only be felt in numbers, hence the reminder for each of us to play a role in implementing.”

She said globally, WWF’s conservation efforts were spread across six thematic areas, namely wildlife, oceans, forests, fresh water, food and climate and energy as they worked with partners from government, civil society and academia.

Murewa High School headmaster Farirai Mugadza said the school was trying its best to preserve what they had, so that the future generation is able to appreciate the heritage.

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