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Youths Gather to Observe Earth Hour, Raise Environmental Awareness in Egypt

Youths Gather to Observe Earth Hour, Raise Environmental Awareness in Egypt

Photo: Ahmed Hamed
Photo: Ahmed Hamed

In celebration of Earth Hour, a group of youths gathered yesterday at the Greek Campus in Cairo, off Tahrir Square, to send a message to Egyptians and the whole world reminding them of the necessity of reacting against climate change through positive steps.

Earth Hour is celebrated worldwide every year on the last Saturday of March, with the event taking place one week ahead this year. During the one-hour observation, organizers asked each citizen to shut down electricity and light a candle. The move is aimed at raising more awareness among nations and propelling them to begin paying attention to the impact of climate change. Activists use Earth Hour as a means of involving regular citizens in efforts to counteract the phenomenon of climate change, which impacts temperatures, agriculture, water sources, food and the lives of many in countries all over the world.

The observation of Earth Hour in Cairo was organized by the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) and 350.org, two movements that work on sustainability and raising environmental awareness.

AYCM is an independent body that works to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East and North Africa to solve the climate crisis and to assess and support the establishment of legally binding agreements to deal with climate change issues within international negotiations.

Sarah Rafaat, an environmental activist and one of the members of 350.org, told Egyptian Streets that the impact of climate change started since the industrial revolution in the late ’80s, caused by the increased dependence on fossil fuel, which has a direct impact on natural resources.

According to the activist, the number 350 refers to the maximum amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to preserve a liveable planet; according to scientists, the current level stands at 400 parts per million (ppm) but this number must be reduced to stand below 350 ppm.

Rafaat called on citizens and policymakers alike to start taking an action here in Egypt and abroad, especially as last year Egypt witnessed the highest temperatures recorded in decades, as well floods that destroy houses in some rural areas. Last week, NASA also released a report showing February 2016’s global temperature as being the warmest by a wider margin than any month ever recorded.

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Nayrouz Talaat is an Egyptian journalist and a reporter for many years. She is currently an editor at The Egyptian Gazette newspaper, an ex-contributor to Aswat Masriya English section and Reuters alumni. Nayrouz also loves reading, walking, watching movies and capturing people's stories.

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