Earth Hour campaign scoops top award

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pretoria - The organisation behind the Earth Hour campaign, which saw more than a million South Africans switching off their lights for an hour to highlight the effects of global warming, has scooped the prestigious Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Award.

Earth Hour, on March 28, saw South Africans joining an estimated billion people around the world in what was described as the largest global demonstration of mass action.

At an award ceremony, held on Thursday night, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said it hoped this achievement would raise further public awareness around the need for action against climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December.

The Earth Hour campaign won the award in the category: Environmental Best Practice in Non-Profit Organisations.

In their citation for the award, the judges described Earth Hour as "a fabulous project" that spoke to the overall issues and awareness and captured the imagination of many individuals and companies around the country.

"We're delighted about this award, but it really goes, not to WWF, but to all the South Africans who participated in Earth Hour," said WWF's Climate Change Programme Manager in South Africa, Richard Worthington.

"It adds great impetus to WWF's ongoing Vote Earth campaign, which aims to mobilise popular demand for a global mandate for world leaders to agree on a fair and effective deal in December in Copenhagen," he said.

The response to the call to action, he said, had indicated a growing awareness that climate change was not just an environmental issue, but a matter of social justice.

"The recognition signified by this award is especially encouraging in the light of recent data, which shows that climate change is happening faster than previous IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) research indicated," said Worthington.