Earth Hour is focusing on a new campaign message called ‘Connect2Earth’ for the next three years, which aims to highlight the interconnection between biodiversity and climate change. The focus is on raising awareness on the values of biodiversity and steps to conserve and use it sustainably. The global campaign focuses on the interconnectivity of the environment and its impact on climate change and vice versa. Few people know what biodiversity is but are connected to it on a daily basis. Our reliance on, and connection to nature is important for us to understand biodiversity in order for us to conserve and protect it.
On Saturday, 24 March 2018, 188 countries & territories took part in Earth Hour and Namibia was one of them. Learners dressed in their blue and grey uniform from Sauzuo Combined School in Balyerwa Conservancy, Zambezi region, eagerly waited under a tree to take part in the new Earth Hour campaign. The thirteen grade 10 students volunteered to take part in the day event and were excited to learn something new. WWF in Namibia together with IRDNC introduced the Connect2Earth campaign and learners were thrilled to be part of the pioneers of Connect2Earth. A biodiversity survey was carried out which indicated that learners have a basic understanding of biodiversity but there is still a need for them to learn more. Bennety Likukela spoke about the benefits of wildlife and tourism in the conservancy as well as the effects of wildlife crime on livelihoods. He also spoke about the role of game guards and the importance of wildlife monitoring.
The team had a short exercise of recording wildlife for an hour around the conservancy. During the walk through the tall grass and green mopane trees, Stanely Munali – game guard, would teach them about the different about the different types of trees, the names of birds and the habitat of species such as the ant bear. From the exercise, they acknowledged and appreciated the work game guards do and were more aware of the animals around them from the small lizard, to the birds of prey, to the mammals in the park adjacent to the conservancy, to the tree in their school yard and how all of these are connected in some way.
To make a difference, the group of thirteen vowed to clean up the school ground because they recognize that land pollution has an effect on biodiversity. If learners excel in their tests and exams, they will be given an opportunity to take part in the annual conservancy game count this year. EARTH HOUR NAMIBIA, THIS IS OUR HOME!