Earth Hour Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

On March 28 at 8.30pm, communities across the globe will mark Earth Hour, urging millions of people to switch off their lights for one hour in support of nature and our planet.

This year though, things are a little different. With several countries under lockdown and a pandemic at our doors, humanity is literally in a fight for its very survival. Battles will be lost along the way, but as a community, we must collectively win this war.

Earth Hour aims to shed light on sustaining the world’s natural resources under the cover of darkness and our darkest hour is now upon us. As we write this, 471,802 people around the globe have been stricken by the coronavirus, with 21,297 losing this fight. Countries such as Italy and India remain under lockdown, while first responders across the world work tirelessly around the clock, struggling to save lives.

Over this weekend, the UAE will step up its own fight with a nationwide sterilisation drive that will shut down public transportation and restrict movement of travel. This is where we come in. During his inaugural address, former US President John F Kennedy famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Let these words wash over us once again. This war is not one to be fought by the government alone. Nearly 190 nationalities call the UAE their home and it’s time to clean house. Stay home. Stay safe. And stay off the streets unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ultimately, what is Earth without its biggest natural resource — humans? This Earth Hour, don’t just switch off your lights for that token Instagram post or to impress the neighbours. Do it as an ode to humanity and in remembrance of the fallen who couldn’t stand with us today.

Light a candle in their memory if you choose, or tuck in your kids with a bedtime story of the heroes who continue to stand their ground in hospitals around the world so you can sleep at home safe at night. These are stories that will one day become the legacy of future generations and it is one that we must preserve.