Why I’m Participating in Earth Hour 2018

The short answer: because we only have one planet.

In case you may not know, Earth Hour is where, around the world, people, workplaces and organisations voluntarily turn off their lights and electronics for one hour on 24th March at 8:30pm. The aim is to raise awareness for environmental issues and encourage people to participate in the solutions.

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Personally, I’ve not known much about Earth Hour before. I heard something about it last year or the year before, but this year I’ve become a lot more invested in all things environmental, and I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to reduce my waste. I’ve bought myself a filter water bottle and I’ve been using that for basically all my water intake since; I have four reusable water bottles in total – one for the gym, two 500ml bottles for everyday use (although one’s at home 200 miles away right now), and my filter bottle which is 1 litre.

Other easy steps I take while out and about at uni include making use of the different bins in university buildings; Liverpool is actually good in that we have, in the main, a mix of general waste bins, paper bins, plastic/cans/recyclable bins. In the student guild, there’s even an electricals bin. I also try to take my lunches with me in lunch boxes, one of which has cutlery in it, so I don’t need to use disposable cutlery while I’m out.

I’ve been on the lookout for other ways to make a difference, and while I was scrolling through social media last month, I came across Earth Hour – I think from a WWF tweet. Because I’ll probably not explain it as well, I thought I’d leave this video here to give a better idea of what it’s all about:

Earth Hour is a great way of people banding together in support of the planet and to raise awareness for the problems of climate change and human activity, and with all the conversation regarding plastic and its effects on our environment which has been on the rise in 2018, this year seems like a brilliant time to get involved.

Currently, WWF is encouraging people around the world to get involved in the switch-off, but they’re also asking people to make a promise to the planet. I mentioned this on my blog last month, but I thought I’d mention it again because it’s such a good cause. WWF is asking for people to promise to do simple things, like turning washing down to 30 degrees, aiming to only use reusable water bottles, or refuse plastic cutlery out and about. For every promise made, Ariel is donating £1 to environmental causes.

Over 25,000 promises have been made so far, which is already £25,000+ that Ariel is set to donate. If you’d like to join me and thousands of others in making small but impactful changes, click here to make your promise.

So, to sum it up, I’m participating in Earth Hour 2018 because it may be a small step in the fight to save our planet, but I think it’s an important one. And if I can persuade anybody else to take part in it too, and to make their promises for the planet, all the better.

It’s International Women’s Day!

Today it is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women and their achievements across the globe. But what is it and why is it still significant today?

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By Molly Adams from USA (International Women’s Day March) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
A Brief History

International Women’s Day’s origins lie in the early 1900s – a time we all recognise as historically significant for gender equality around the world. According to the official International Women’s Day website, the day marks a “call for gender parity” as well as general celebration of women’s “social, economic, cultural and political achievements”. The first recognised Women’s Day was in the USA in February 1909, after women in New York marched for better pay, voting rights, and better working hours in 1908.

Later, in 1910, Clara Zetkin suggested an International Women’s Day while at the second International Conference of Working Women. The idea was that on this day, women could raise awareness and push for their demands to further equality. In 1911, following this suggestion, International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th March. Two years later, in 1913, the date was revised to 8th March – which has remained the same ever since.

Come 2001, International Women’s Day was in need of a boost against late-20th century complacency, and internationalwomensday.com was born. It became a place to find out what was on, how to participate, and a place to celebrate the achievements of women more publicly.

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By Molly Adams from USA (International Women’s Day March) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
IWD Today

More than 100 years on from the first International Women’s Day, huge leaps have been made to put women on more equal footing with men. The 20th century saw countless countries give women the vote. Women in many countries are far more free to follow careers, but can still choose not to. Education opportunities in the western world particularly have evened up. Many of the biggest names in the creative arts are female.

But that’s not to say that our work is done. Equal pay may be required by law, but that’s not to say it always happens in practice. Equal rights may be allowed by law, but that’s not to say there is no more sexism. Gender discrimination in employment may be banned by law, but that’s not to say it doesn’t still exist.

Protests across the globe today are fighting for still more progress: the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns are popular. Women are also raising awareness of women in work, such as the work women do in the armed forces, and the difficulty women in the technology sector have in such a male-dominated industry. A quick look at the #internationalwomensday2018 and #IWD2018 hashtags on Twitter will show you what women and organisations everywhere are doing to celebrate the day.

So what can we take from International Women’s Day 2018? First off, that women are amazing, strong, and great multitaskers. Second, that there’s always room for improvement. And third, that while we lucky women in certain walks of life have it pretty good, there are women in many other countries who are still fighting for basic rights like an education. We have voices, so let’s use them.

A Changing World

A lot of things have happened so far this year. The year kicked off with the launch of Time’s Up, which has basically been in the media ever since. There’s been a huge upsurge in the awareness of what plastic has been doing to our planet, a huge part of which was spurred on by Blue Planet II in December. The #NeverAgain movement taking off in the US as we speak, after the Valentine’s day shooting in Florida, is moving at an unbelievable rate, and I hugely praise every single teen standing by it.

Something feels different about the world stage this year. After the disaster that was 2016, and the year of disbelief that was 2017, 2018 appears to be the year we’ve had enough – especially the youth of the world.

Every awards show so far this year has been incredibly political – they’re usually at least a little political, but Time’s Up has taken over, and with good reason. It is time we called out sexual harassment, worldwide. The UK Justice and Equality Fund has just been launched as a UK version, and it’s already had a donation of £1m from Emma Watson.


I’m avidly keeping up with the #NeverAgain protests, demonstrations, walkouts and upcoming march on Washington, because I think it’s incredible how these teenagers have organised themselves and are standing up for what they believe in. I’m not surprised by it – anyone who doesn’t believe that teens have this kind of power is sorely underestimating the younger generations – but watching everything unfold is mesmerising. They shouldn’t have to fear getting shot in their own schools, and really, they shouldn’t have to wander around their own streets in such fear either.

The environment, and more specifically how to protect it, is something I’ve felt strongly about for a long time now. Coming up in March is Earth Hour – where at 8:30pm, people are encouraged to turn their lights and electronics off for one hour. I won’t go into much detail now, so click here to read more about it. WWF is also encouraging people to make a promise for the planet this year, little things which collectively will make a difference – again, click here to read more. I’ve already made mine:

… it says ‘Eleanor’ because I used Google AutoFill for my details.

To think we’re only less than two months into this year, and with so much energy for change having built up already, I’m looking to the rest of the year with anticipation. I think if enough people pay attention, if enough people use their social media to spread awareness of the movements they’re passionate about, and make even little changes, the potential is endless. I’m not saying the world’s problems will be solved by year’s end by any means, but it could be a turning point – if we let it.