Earth Hour is an opportunity for people to show they care for nature and the environment, as well as a chance to share the importance of conserving natural resources for life on the planet with others. It is also an ideal day to consider solutions to the environmental challenges that humans are facing, said a senior Ministry of Environment official.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra made the remarks at a March 26 celebration of Earth Hour, held in Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom town under the theme “The Future We Wish” – a topic which pushed for further joint commitments to the sustainability of the planet.

He said the current problems are climate change and ecological damage, which are both global threats to humans and nature.

“Earth Hour offers us an opportunity to celebrate, but it is also a time for us to show a strong will to protect the environment and natural resources of the nation. This is not something we can simply do for an hour once a year, but is something we should focus on every day,” he said.

Pheaktra said that saying no to wildlife crime was part of taking part in the protection of biodiversity, while planting trees increased shelter for everyone, as well as creating fresh air.

These are just two things people need to do to ensure a healthy future for the next generation.

“Please join us to protect our planet. Please join us to protect our wildlife. Please join us to protect our forests and nature,” he said.

He added that in order to conserve natural resources and the environment, Cambodia needs to create a local economy based on sustainable forestry and increase carbon credit sales in the international voluntary market. It should also tax income to strengthen conservation and protected area community development projects.

He said it was also necessary to promote the development of ecotourism, which would create new jobs, increase income and improve the lives of local people.

World Wide Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia) representative Seng Teak said that turning off the lights for one hour has become a global symbol since the annual event began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when the day was first held to show the impact of electricity on the environment.

He added that by turning off the lights for one hour, people around the world were showing their willingness to contribute to raising global awareness, and pushing for positive changes in the use of electricity to reduce the effects of global warming.

“Natural resources and ecosystems provide the foundation for sustaining the lives of all humans and animals, and they are essential elements for sustainable economic development,” he said, adding, “It is the duty of all of us to preserve and protect our natural resources and the planet that is the common home of all of us. Together we can build a future in which people and nature can live in harmony together.”

Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang said Earth Hour continued to reflect the results that solidarity could achieve, and gave people hope for a better future for the next generation.

“We can join to make positive changes to the climate crisis by reducing energy use and continuing to stick with environmentally friendly activities in our daily lives. This is a future that we all have to join together to build,” he said.

He added that sustainability is a topic that is important for everyone. The effects of climate change and the loss of natural resources are affecting all lives, as well as the survival of all species of animals and biodiversity on the planet.

Sustainability is becoming an essential element of business standards for the private sector, business owners, entrepreneurs, employees and customers, he said.