Mar 24

There is just 2 days to go until the world unites and switches off in support of Earth Hour 2011 – a symbolic gesture of environmental solidarity that intends to show global leaders we want immediate action in tackling climate change.

This Saturday, 26 March, at 8:30 pm local time, a record number of countries will participate in switching off their lights to pledge their support for Earth Hour 2011. An incredible 131 countries, on all seven continents, as well as thousands of cities and iconic landmarks, are set to join with hundreds of millions of people across the world to celebrate action for the planet.

This year, WWF are asking people to go beyond the hour, and use Earth Hour to commit to an action that they will sustain for the future of our planet. The Nepalese government, for example, has pledged to put an end to tree-felling in the Churiya range – a 23,000 square kilometres forest.

Wildscreen is proud to support Earth Hour 2011, and by spreading the word we hope to raise awareness of climate change and its effects.

Nature’s energy savers

As we struggle to meet our burgeoning population’s energy demand, and strive towards a carbon-neutral future, perhaps we should look to the incredible diversity of life on Earth for inspiration on how to adapt to a changing climate.

Innovations such as solar panels and wind farms may be new technologies to us, but examples of low-energy and energy-efficient lifestyles are abundant in nature. So here are some of my favourite species that have all adopted intriguing examples of how to harness the planet’s energy or cut down on their consumption.

Wind power

With a huge wingspan that is reminiscent of the monstrous blades on a wind turbine, the Eurasian griffon is able to harness the wind’s energy and soar up to heights of 11,000 metres, without a single beat of its wings.

Photo of Eurasian griffon in gliding flight

Solar power

The Galapagos marine iguana is able to make full use of solar power, as it soaks up the sun’s rays by basking on exposed rocks. During its dives into extremely cold water to feed on algae, its temperature decreases by as much as 10ºC. On return to land, it basks for several hours to raise its body temperature to around 36ºC.

Photo of Galapagos marine iguana colony basking in sun

Energy efficiency

A perfect example of energy efficiency, the small giant clam lives in a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae known as ‘zooxanthellae’. The algae gain carbon dioxide and nutrients from the clam’s waste, while it provides the clam with energy obtained by photosynthesis.

Small giant clam photo

Recycle

When food is hard to find, polar bears conserve energy by occupying a den and breaking down fat and protein stores. They even recycle the metabolic by-products of this process.

Photo of male polar bear in day bed

Hydropower

After hatching, many loggerhead turtle nestlings begin an epic migration around the Atlantic Ocean, using warm water currents, aided by trade winds, to push them towards productive waters.

Loggerhead turtle photo

Make a pledge

If you have a pledge, big or small, then we would love to hear from you. You can also post your pledges on WWF’s Earth Hour 2011, beyond the hour website.

To find out more about climate change and the species it affects, explore our new climate change pages.

Alex Royan, ARKive Species Text Author

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