This Saturday millions of lights will be switched off to celebrate diverse life on our planet and to spark conversation around taking action for the planet and nature. Earth Hour 2018 will respond to the accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss that threaten our planet.
The leaders of Earth Hour aim to highlight the importance of nature, connection with the earth and biodiversity. Starting in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour is now the largest grassroots movement for the environment and partners with organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation.
Messiah Earthkeepers’s President Devyn McPheeters believes in taking action against climate change. “While one hour of turning out your lights may not feel like it has a huge impact, it does send a message that protecting the earth is something important to you,” McPheeters said. “It [Earth Hour] isn’t meant to just be one hour of your life, but something that has a lasting impact on how you consume energy in your day to day activities.”
McPheeters noted that scientists predict there are about 50 years before things go from bad to worse if we continue neglecting to protect the environment. “Students are at a really pivotal point in that we have the most opportunity to change the way things are done in this country, as we are just about to enter the work force,” McPheeters said. “Generations before us have left us to bear the brunt of this burden, and it is our responsibility to bear the responsibly so that our children and grandchildren can live in a healthier, cleaner, greener world.”
The issue of land degradation is not new. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a decline in land quality caused by human activities, land degradation was a problem issue in the 20th century and continues into the current century. (nrcs.usda.gov)
To McPheeters, caring for the earth is part of a Christian’s responsibility. She pointed to Genesis 1:28 which says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” McPheeters explained that to subdue the earth does not mean to conquer it but to cultivate and keep it.
“Caring for the earth is one of the very first commands God ever gave to humanity and yet it is often brushed aside by Christians,” McPheeters said.
The creators of Earth Hour encourage participants to go stargazing, enjoy a candle-lit dinner or host parties and gatherings on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. They also have an online platform for those interested in discussing global topics called Connect2Earth.