By Juan Montes, Coordinator, YMCA Resource Group on the Environment
The COVID pandemic has taught us that even as the planet goes through a major health crisis, climate change is still happening and its effects are more and more visible each day. It is crucial that we all take action to fix this environmental emergency because it will determine our future as humans. The earth is our home and it is the home that our children will inherit and that their children will inherit. Generations are relying on us.
The urgency of the problem is daunting, but also inspiring. That is why the YMCA Resource Group on the Environment (RGE) needs to redouble its efforts to engage young people and to help them make real change. And we can take a stand this week, as World YMCA supports the World Wildlife Fund with Earth Hour 2021. Earth Hour will take place on March 27th at 8:30pm local time – wherever you are in the world – so please be ready and join in as the YMCA and WWF use social media and other tools to encourage people to unite and to Speak Up for Nature!
The RGE is planning more collaborations and more activities in the coming months as we get ready for COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. It plays a key role in the YMCA, allowing young people’s voices to be heard and giving them opportunties to take action. This year Stefanie Tornow and I will be coordinators of the group, with the help of Maricris Saldariagga the Programme Manager at World YMCA. We have created two key committees, the Working Group on Education (WGE) and the Working Group on the Conference of the Parties (WGCOP) to generate more awareness in our local communities and to help young people understand better what the RGE does and how they can help.
There is not much time left, but this is our future and we as young people need to use the time wisely. We have to influence our friends, our neighbours, our governments, and businesses large and small. It will take a collective effort to save our planet, and what better moment to build on than right now, with Earth Hour!
Started by WWF and partners as a symbolic ‘lights-out’ event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment. Held every year on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 190 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet. Beyond its symbolic action, it has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people and collective action.