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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Earth Hour 2023. Biodiversity Hour

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Earth Hour 2023 is today, Saturday, March 25. At 8.30 pm, the lights in many recognizable buildings around the world will go out. As Dariusz Gatkowski from WWF Polska explained on TVN24, this year the campaign draws attention to the progressive loss of biodiversity in the world.

Earth Hour is a social initiative that gathers millions of people around the world every year. At 8:30 p.m. local time, the lights of the most recognizable buildings go out on the hour, thus drawing attention to environmental problems. We can all participate in the action by turning off the light in our home. This year the event falls on March 25.

The disastrous state of biodiversity

As Dariusz Gatkowski from WWF Polska told in the program “You get up and the weekend”, this year’s edition of the Earth Hour is devoted to the protection and restoration of biodiversity in protected areas.

‘Biodiversity is really all the richness of life on our Earth,’ he explained. He added that the concept covers many issues, from the number of species and individuals to genetic diversity and ecosystems.

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WWF data shows that over the past 50 years, monitored animal populations around the world have decreased by an average of 69 percent. Gatkowski admitted that this indicator shows that the state of biodiversity is “catastrophic”.

“It’s not better in Poland,” he pointed out. – According to the data of the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection, about 20 percent of the monitored natural habitats are in good condition, the rest are in unsuitable or bad condition. Similarly with protected species: about 36 percent are in good condition.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) – pic. illustrativeShutterstock

Birds and the economy

Which native species are most at risk? Gatkowski explained that in Poland and in the world, animals and plants associated with water, especially fresh water, are in the most difficult situation. Populations of many species of birds are seriously shrinking – within 23 years, the number of lapwings has decreased (Vanellus vanellus) in Poland amounted to about 75 percent. In the case of common quail (coturnix coturnix) we lost 78 percent of the population, and the gray nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) – 65 percent.

“These indicators tell us not only how (…) specific species of animals are doing, they actually tell us what the state of the environment in which we live is” – explained Gatkowski. – Let us remember that our economy depends on the state of the environment. We are really talking about people here, about our development opportunities.

The expert added that according to the data of the World Economic Forum, about half of global GDP depends on natural resources.

Common quail (Coturnix coturnix) – pic. illustrativeAdobe Stock

Key protected areas

Earth Hour highlights the problems facing biodiversity, but how can we stop its loss? Gatkowski pointed out that protected areas are one of the ways in which we can protect valuable natural resources.

“These areas serve us as a storage place for our entire economy,” he said. – There are areas where economy can be conducted and areas of strict protection (…). We are talking in the petition [na stronie WWF – red.]to increase protected areas in Poland, on land and in the sea, to 30 percent. We also want 10 percent of Poland to be strictly protected, he added.

Earth Hour 2023 – interview with an expertTVN24

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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