Earth Hour, March 28, 2020, at 8:30pm local time, please turn off your light for an hour. (https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/earth-hour)
Started by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is an annual environmental campaign that brings attention to the effects of climate change by asking people to switch off lights at homes and businesses for an hour at 8:30pm, local time, usually on the last Saturday of March. Earth Hour is now one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment, engaging millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories.
On Jan. 22, 2019, Sir David Attenborough launched the Voice for the Planet at the World Economic Forum, a global online action calling on world leaders to agree on a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 to halt and reverse humanity’s impact on nature and protect our planet.
On December 29, 1972 the American meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz (1917-2008) presented a talk in the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Washington, D.C. entitled Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set a Tornado in Texas?. He highlight the possibility that small causes may have momentous effects. He initially enunciated in connection with the problematics of weather prediction, but eventually it became a metaphor used in very diverse contexts.
Little things in the past can also make big differences in everyday life when ideas and trends cross a threshold, tip and spread as discussed in an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell, In The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Malcolm Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” Gladwell, though having no attempt to relate this type of phenomenon to the butterfly effect in the sense of Lorenz, popularizes some of the ideas behind the “butterfly effect.” He attempts to explain how seemingly random or sudden changes are really the outward manifestations of highly complex, hidden patterns. What may seem to be miraculous events are often the result of the accumulation of many, many small changes. Epidemics often offer a powerful metaphor for such changes. A few incidents of a virus may not trigger much concern. It may seem to be spreading slowly. But, a very small increase in the number of cases can lead to a major outbreak that seems to spread like wildfire. (From Bill Stinnett’s “The Butterfly Effect: Why Small Acts Can have Big Effects,”, Sept. 15, 2011. https://www.gordontraining.com/leadership/the-butterfly-effect-why-small-acts-can-have-big-effects/)
Do we still need a better example than this pandemic CoVid-19 to prove what the seventeenth-century English author John Donne said, No man is an island; No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others.
Whether you believe in The Butterfly Effect, or “No man is an island”, we are witnessing how we are all connected every day these days. Especially in the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, this Earth hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite, at least virtually.
So do your bit.