WWF’s Earth Hour, the world's largest collective environmental action, was successfully held at 8:30pm on 28 March this year. WWF-Hong Kong announced today that during Earth Hour 2015, electricity consumption in Hong Kong dropped by 4.08 per cent, equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 138 tonnes. This year, more than 3,900 companies and buildings across the city took part in Earth Hour, along with all Hong Kong universities and over 310 primary and secondary schools.
Over 19,000 signatories made pledges on the Earth Hour Hong Kong website – individuals from all walks of life as well as companies and schools. Beyond Earth Hour, WWF also organised "One Earth Mission" activities throughout April which focused on clothing, food, living and transportation, helping the Hong Kong public learn to consume less and consume wisely by leading a sustainable lifestyle.
According to data provided by the two power companies, the electricity consumption in Hong Kong during Earth Hour (8:30 – 9:30pm) dropped by 4.08 per cent compared with the same period one week before. This is equivalent to a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 138 tonnes. It would take 5,991 trees one year to absorb this amount of carbon, which is in turn equivalent to the emissions produced by an economy class passenger taking 1,380 flights between Hong Kong and Taipei.
Mr C.W. Cheung, Senior Head of the Climate and Footprint Programme at WWF-Hong Kong, said: "This year marked the seventh year that Earth Hour was held in Hong Kong. The event continues to successfully increase public awareness about energy conservation and the need to care for our environment. However, at the same time Hong Kong’s Ecological Footprint has grown to alarming proportions. According to the latest research by WWF and Global Footprint Network, if everyone on Earth were to live the way we do in Hong Kong, humanity would require 3.1 Earths to meet its needs. But we have only one planet, and we all need to urgently reduce unnecessary consumption to sustain our Earth.”
Research has also found that the natural resources consumed by Hong Kong people exceed what is available in the territory by an astounding 540 times. This difference, our “ecological deficit”, is the largest in Asia.
For the "One Earth Mission", WWF and four local non-profit groups – Redress, Food Angel, Chu Kong Plan and the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association – joined hands to hold a series of experiential activities on four themes: clothing, food, living and transportation. These activities taught the participants ways to reduce their ecological footprint by integrating sustainability into their daily lives. Continuing the spirit of Earth Hour, the One Earth Mission promotes the reduction of our wasteful use of the Earth's resources and supports the use of clean energy to reduce carbon emissions and create a brighter future for all of us.
Highlights of the 2015 One Earth Mission activities:
WEEK 1 – CLOTHING – WWF and Redress held a DIY Up-cycling Workshop to encourage everyone to reduce unnecessary clothes purchases and apply life management principles to their wardrobe. Participants also learned techniques to transform old clothes into practical, stylish and long-lasting fashion items!
WEEK 2 – FOOD – “Meal box packaging” sessions presented by WWF and Food Angel helped people learn how to transform food that would otherwise have been wasted into healthy and nutritious meals for those in need. Our participants and volunteers from Food Angel worked in kitchens in Chai Wan and Sham Shui Po, making over 4,000 meal boxes. The participants came to realize that changing their eating habits and appreciating food more plays a part in preventing the production of greenhouse gases, which in turn may mitigate global warming.
WEEK 3 – LIVING – A programme hosted by WWF and Chu Kong Plan included a tour of a recycling centre and a second-hand furniture store. The participants learned the process of how furniture is recycled, renovated and restored and how this reduces the amount of waste going into landfills. Learning from one of Chu Kong Plan’s masters, they took wood reclaimed from unfixable furniture and transformed it into wooden seats and trays. The participants returned home with their creations and a new-found spirit of reuse and renovation!
WEEK 4 – TRANSPORTATION – WWF and the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association went “wild“ as participants joined a hike at the Girl Guides’ Sandilands Centre. Under the guidance of hiking instructors, they walked to Violet Hill and collected fallen leaves and flowers, which they then used to create rubbing art on drawstring bags. Participants enjoyed their time in nature and deepened their knowledge of hiking and Hong Kong’s ecological assets.