On Saturday 25 March, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, over half a million people in Wales will join millions worldwide in an “epic” switch off of lights in order to shine a light on climate change.
Iconic landmarks taking part include Caernarfon Castle, National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, and the Senedd and Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
In the weeks running up to Earth Hour, WWF Cymru has undertaken a special 10th anniversary ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign, to demonstrate the strength of feeling for urgent national and global action on climate change.
A giant, eight metre sculpture, designed by artist Lulu Quinn, will symbolise the messages gathered across Wales and be delivered to the Senedd steps on Friday for WWF’s Earth Hour Wales celebrations.
To mark the occasion, as Earth Hour begins, WWF Cymru will broadcast an exclusive Facebook Live performance by Welsh Music Prize nominee, The Gentle Good together with singer songwriter, Catrin Herbert.
Anne Meikle, head of WWF Cymru, said:
“We are thrilled by the public response to this year’s Earth Hour Wales. It is the biggest yet, and we’re delighted that, for the second year, all 22 local authorities have signed up, together with businesses and over 300 schools. This includes Coastlands Primary School, whose pupil, Rebecca, won the UK-wide Earth Hour poetry competition.
“Our Message in a Bottle campaign has also captured the imagination of our Welsh politicians with half of all Assembly Members pledging their support to our campaign earlier in the week. It is clear that tackling climate change is becoming more and more a priority issue for both the public and politicians – and this is something to celebrate. Big thanks go to the Arts Council of Wales and players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting this campaign.
“We’re now turning our attention to the actual Earth Hour itself, which will include an exclusive live performance, with singer-songwriters, Welsh Music Prize nominee The Gentle Good and Catrin Herbert. This will be our way, in part, to thank our fantastic supporters on social media and allow them to be part of an online celebration.”
Global temperatures have been rising for over a century, speeding up in recent years, and are now at their highest. 2016 was the hottest year on record, beating the previous two records of 2015 and 2014.
In Wales, the communities we call home and our incredible nature are also at risk. Over 5,000 listed buildings and 12,000 archaeological sites lie in floodplains and valley bottoms. Our beautiful Welsh wildlife, including seabirds and butterflies, will be impacted, while more wildfires will damage forests and moorland.
The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM, in response to the Message in a Bottle said:
“Sustainability features prominently within the National Assembly for Wales – both within the context of policy work undertaken by Committees scrutinising Government but also in that the very building in which this work is carried out represents a practical expression of the Assembly’s commitment to sustainability.
“We strive to improve our environmental performance; not just by supporting Earth Hour each year, but making improvements like a 40% reduction in our energy footprint since 2008. Of course, a key role of the Senedd is to represent the interests of Wales and its people. An eight metre giant sculpture, depicting the strength of feeling across Wales for climate change action, is not only apt but will be difficult to ignore.”
All Welsh local authorities have signed up, for the second year running.
Universities include Bangor, Wrexham Glyndwr, Cardiff, Cardiff Met and Swansea.
Businesses include St David’s Shopping Centre, Ikea, John Lewis, Arriva Trains Wales, Howies and Admiral.
Organisations include Swansea City Football Club, Church in Wales, Cynnal Cymru, Welsh National Opera
Elsewhere, Head 4 Arts is holding four events in Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent, including silent discos, and storytelling by lantern and starlight. F.A.N Community Alliance in Neath will be hosting a candle and solar-lit vegan meal, while Ffwrn in Fishguard will also be holding a special Earth Hour event for the community.
Like many other restaurants across the country, Cardiff-based Dusty Knuckle Pizza, Pitch and the restaurant at the Hilton Hotel (which recently won energy efficiency award) will be dimming their lights for customers in a selection of candlelit dinners. The Blue Bell Inn in Halkyn will also be hosting a candlelit evening – the owners have never missed a single Earth Hour.
You can still be part of #WWFMessageinaBottle by going to: www.wwf.org.uk/messageinabottle