Edmund Rice Society Pioneers Earth Hour Campaign in Zimbabwe.

Preparations to mark the Earth Hour in Zimbabwe started with a workshop at St Patrick’s, CBC Bulawayo. Thirty representatives from different stakeholder groups including local government, churches, schools, environment agencies, NGOs and departments of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources participated in the workshop. The workshop was facilitated by teachers who co-ordinate the Edmund Rice Society and a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) representative. The main aim of the workshop was to highlight the effects of climate change and introduce the Earth Hour campaign, offer suggestions for marking the day and for looking beyond the Hour to ways of reducing our carbon footprint both from an individual and from a group/organisational level. All delegates were invited to give feedback to their groups and to encourage a practical response from them.

According to feedback received, church representatives addressed their congregations at the time of announcements after religious services. School representatives spoke at assemblies, and took the opportunity provided by sporting and cultural events to invite parents and pupils to participate in the campaign.

At St Patricks College, the Earth Hour day was highlighted in the school calendar, on the school website and on notice boards along the entrance and exit driveways during the week leading up to the day for parents and visitors to see. A school assembly presented a reflection on climate change and called for participation in Earth Hour. On the day before the Earth Hour, CBC students held banners along the school driveways and along the highway to the city during times of peak traffic. Six different schools adopted a similar strategy.

Organisations from other cities that were unable to attend the workshop responded to the letters sent to them with suggestions on how to mark the day. Very few people knew of the Earth Hour campaign among all the organisations contacted, which underlined the importance of the workshop and raised hopes for an even more vibrant campaign in the future. WWF and many other organisations have promised to support our Edmund Rice Society in their future efforts of raising awareness on Earth Hour.

Thanks to Passmore Chingwere for the information in this article.

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