For the fifth time the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are taking part in Earth Hour by turning off the lights at its offices around the world on Saturday, 23 March, for one hour, in a symbolic gesture to support action on climate change and to demonstrate its commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint.
For example, in New York, the UN is now buying all its electricity for the iconic Secretariat Building from renewable energy sources. This marks a major milestone in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the New York campus.
The switch to renewables, currently 100 per cent wind energy, has been done by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, a tradable certificate issued when electricity is generated and delivered to the grid from a qualifying renewable energy source.
Overall, the US$1.9 billion renovation of the Secretariat building aims to reduce energy (electricity and steam) consumption by 50 per cent and carbon emissions by 45 per cent.
Similar strides are being taken around the UN System in places like Dakar, Nairobi and Rome.
Everyone has a role to play. Governments need to provide the political will, businesses can contribute solutions, and civil society, especially young people, can mobilise global action. Together, let’s do our part and shed light on common sense answers for a cleaner, greener world. — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Here are just a few ways the UN is calling on governments and business are mobilizing action.
- Millennium Development Goals
- Sustainable Energy For All, which aims to ensure universal access to energy modern energy services; double global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewal energy in the global energy mix.
- UN Global Compact, which asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.
How can you take part? Here are some ideas.
- Make YOUR voice heard. Vote for what you’d like to see as priorities in the next development agenda.
- Join the online conversation – tell world leaders what would create lasting and positive change in your community.
- Be a City Changer — share your story about good cities for all.
- ACT against corruption – do any or all of these eight ways to say “no” to corruption.
- Reduce your foodprint — #ThinkSaveEat and support the Zero Hunger Challenge.
- Make smart choices about sustainable fish — download AppliFish for Android or for iOS.
- Sign the “Power the World” pledge stating you care about sustainable energy.
- Sign up to make your city resilient to disasters.
- Volunteer your action for a better future — record your actions on the Action Counts site.