Giving Back

Join the Movement: Earth Hour 2018

Earth Hour is just around the corner, again! I feel like with annual events and holidays you really realise how quickly time flies. What? It's Earth Hour again?! We're only here for just a short moment and then *poof* it's all over. That's even more the reason the embrace each moment and each Earth Hour. If you missed it last year now you've got the chance to join the movement!

What is Earth Hour?

This #EarthHour, join us on a journey to spark never-before conversations and show us how you, your friends and family #Connect2Earth!

Earth Hour is, as the name suggests, an hour-long event that takes place around the world. It is coordinated by WWF together with various volunteer organisations and crosses geographic, political and religious boundaries and connects millions of people with one common goal: Creating climate change action.

Earth Hour 2018 will take place on Saturday March 24th at 8.30pm local time regardless of your time zone. Basically the event consists of people around the world switching off all of their lights and any electrical appliances for one hour (8.30 - 9.30 pm) and raising awareness for climate change. Earth Hour isn't about saving energy or cutting down on your electricity bill. It's about raising awareness for the one and only planet we have, and that we are rapidly and consistently destroying. Combatting climate change is obviously much more than just turning your lights off for an hour once a year, but all change stems from awareness and interest. Earth Hour aims to raise the awareness needed for the planet's inhabitants to adapt more sustainable lifestyles.

Why Earth Hour?

The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and had over two million participants. 10 years later, in 2017, the event had turned itself into an international phenomenon reaching 187 countries and territories as well as millions of people, communities, organisations and private companies. Over 3000 monuments and landmarks switched off their lights in support of the event.

Finland celebrated its first Earth Hour in 2009 and it 2017 1,3 million Finns took part. That's a lot of people for a country with just 5,5 million inhabitants! Over 120 Finnish restaurants, bars and cafés pledged to turn off their lights as well as over 70 schools and hundreds of companies.

Changed attitudes lead to actions, and some of Earth Hour's accomplishments during its ten-year history include:

- Over 250.000 planted trees during Earth Hour 2016

- 50.000 collected signatures in Spain petitioning for renewable energy sources in Spain

- Earth Hour 2014 lead to a complete plastic bag ban on the Galapagos Islands

- Fundraising in Nepal and Madagascar for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly stoves in homes

- Campaigning for solar panel usage in India and Philippines

- Fundraising for the restoration of damaged and lost traditional fishing boats in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines in 2013

WWF's Earth Hour shows us how each of us can be heroes for our planet, our home. Our actions today can change our tomorrow - together, let's #ChangeClimateChange. Join the movement at http://www.earthhour.org/ClimateAction/ today. Earth Hour 2017 will take place on Saturday 25 March 8:30 p.m.

How to take part in Earth Hour?

If you're in Finland there are several different Earth Hour events planned for the 24th of March, and more undoubtably are still to come.

WWF on koonnut Earth Hour -sivustolle listan erilaisista tapahtumista. Mukana on mm. Dining in the Dark -pimeä illallinen Tampereella La Fiesta -ravintolassa, retki jään yli Saariselän parilaavulle, valojen sammuttaminen Punahilkan Päiväkodissa Vaasassa ja paljon, paljon muuta!

Mikäli haluat ilmoittaa oman tapahtumasi mukaan Suomen Earth Houriin, klikkaa tästä linkistä.

Join the movement!

By going to your country's WWF page you can find more information on Earth Hour in your country as well as ways to participate. Regardless of your country or time zone, remember to turn the lights off on Saturday March 24, 2018 from 8.30-9.30 pm.

#EarthHour #changeclimatechange #horadelplaneta

Giving Back: My Experience as a Plan International and WWF Monthly Sponsor

norpanystävä wwf

norpanystävä wwf

I still remember the summer day back in 2016, when I was walking down the street in central Helsinki and I was stopped by one of the tens of street fundraisers who spent their days trying to reach out to often uninterested and occasionally rude passers-by. That summer I was on holiday in Helsinki and every day I walked by what seemed like an army of street fundraisers representing, in my eyes, any and all possible NGOs a person could think of. I often walked by them briskly, with my head down as to avoid eye contact and slightly apologetically for not wanting to devote my time or money to help someone else. It's not that I didn't want to donate, it's just that money was very tight and I kept telling myself that first I needed to increase my income and then I could become a sponsor.

plan intl girls

plan intl girls

But that day something in my mind changed. Out of sheer coincidence, the person who stopped me was a representative of Plan International's Finnish chapter. "Are you interested in children's rights?" Of course I am, I thought. And I'll donate in the future, I swear. I just need a better salary. And then I'll donate, I really will. But I can't afford it just now. "You can start with as little as 10€ a month," the representative went on. 10€ a month? I did some quick calculations. That's roughly 33 cents a day. No matter how broke I thought I might be, there was really no excuse for someone like me to not be able to cough up 33 cents a day for charity. Especially if it meant helping girls go to school, combating genital mutilation and supporting gender equality.

plan girls delhi

plan girls delhi

And so instead of making my usual excuse of having to catch my bus or being late for work, I decided to stay and chat with the friendly face who had stopped me only a few moments earlier. He told me a briefly about Plan International as an organisation, about their chapter in Finland and the types of projects they worked with. He explained to me that as a monthly donor my donations would  be spread out according to the needs of the various on-going projects the organisation was working with at any given time. However, all of my donations would go to projects related to girls' rights and gender equality in developing countries.

girls malawi plan

girls malawi plan

That day I decided to challenge myself. Were my finances really that tight that I couldn't spare 10€ a month? That's less than a movie ticket or a meal out. Right then and there I made the choice to donate 10€ a month for 12 months, and if at the end of those 12 months I found it impossible to come up with that money on a monthly basis, I would cancel my sponsorship. Plan International Finland is an organisation that is neither religiously nor politically affiliated. It promotes girls' rights especially in developing countries and works tirelessly to end the injustice girls and women face on a daily basis. Surely that's worth more than a movie ticket once a month.

girls togo plan

girls togo plan

As an added challenge, later that same day I also signed up with WWF Finland, more specifically as a Saimaa Ringed Seal sponsor, and pledged to donate 10€ a month to them as well. That meant that my goal would be to donate a total of 20€ a month to two non-governmental organisations. 20€ x 12 = 240€ for the entire year. That is the price of a return ticket from Helsinki to Málaga. But instead of spending on myself, I would be investing in the future of others.

saimaannorppa

saimaannorppa

As of February 2018, nearly two years later, I can say that that the day I couldn't make my monthly donations has yet to come. And that isn't to say that money hasn't been tight at times. But never has it been that tight that I haven't been able to squeeze out just 20€ a month, especially for a good cause. I haven't found it the least bit challenging  to do my part in helping young girls in developing countries get an education and find a way out of poverty. And I can't think of an easier way to support a global community of just 380 Saimaa Ringed Seals getting through yet another year at risk of extinction. It's a no-brainer and a trade that I am more than willing to make.

saimaannorppa kuutti

saimaannorppa kuutti

This post is not sponsored by WWF Finland or Plan International Finland, although I would be more than happy to work with either of those organisations in the future. I simply want to highlight the fact that donating money to those who have much less than we do is not difficult at all. There are so, so many local, regional, national and international organisations that are contributing to making our world a better place, so there really is something for absolutely everyone.

wwf kasvit

wwf kasvit

I challenge anyone and everyone reading this post to sign up as a sponsor or donor for any organisation of your choice. Giving back has been made so easy and there is absolutely no reason for all of us to do just that.

The pictures in this post are not my own, they can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here.