This 27th is the last Saturday of the march and it is the day the world observe the ‘Earth Hour’. For those who are not aware of what the Earth Hour is, here is some brief ideas. Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. It was first organised in Sydney by the WWF in the collaboration of The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007. In 2008, the event became bigger and cities across different countries supported the cause. Earth Hour 2010 will take place on March 27, 2010 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., local time.
Why should we support it? Every time, we start discussing on the climate change or the environmental pollution, we blame the governments and the industries for the present conditions. And we are absolutely right at doing that. But don’t we have the responsibilities to resurrect our environment? We may not be able to change the system overnight, but we can at least have the satisfaction of doing something at our part. If you want to do something for our mother earth, then Earth Hour is a great initiative you should be a part of.
By supporting the Earth Hour, you will be doing an immense help to the already polluted environment. The main motive behind the initiative is to save the electricity. By saving electricity you will indirectly save tonnes of coals being burnt and equivalent amount of green house gases being released to the environment. Your act can be an example for others, it will aware others about climate change. What’s more? You will save some bucks towards your electricity bills.
The Earth Hour is not just an awareness campaign, it has given results on ground. Here are some statistical data: According to WWF Thailand, Bangkok decreased electricity usage by 73.34 megawatts, which,over one hour, is equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In the Philippines it was noted by the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. that power consumption dropped by about 78.63 megawatts in Metro Manila, and up to 102.2 megawatts in Luzon island. Toronto saved 900 megawatt-hours of electricity. 8.7% was saved if measured against a typical March Saturday night. In Dubai, where external lighting on several major city landmarks was turned off and street lighting in selected areas was dimmed by 50%, the Electricity and Water Authority reported savings of 100 megawatt-hours of electricity. This represented a 2.4% reduction in demand compared to before the hour began. The best result was from Christchurch, New Zealand. The city reported a drop of 13% in electricity demand.
You will not be the only one supporting the event. 812 icons and landmarks worldwide will turn off their lights for Earth Hour. To name some of them, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Empire State Building, Burj Al Arab, Red Fort (New Delhi). Celebrity Earth Hour ambassadors who are supporting the Earth Hour message include; Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Helen Clarke (former New Zealand Prime Minister), Mayor of London Boris Johnson. At the moment 214 ambassadors have signed on to support EH 2010. Earth Hour has garnered global support from over fourty five international corporations such as IKEA, HSBC, PwC, Accenture and Nokia Siemens Networks. Earth Hour was covered extensively in the United States with segments on Oprah, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, CNN International, The Weather Channel and more. Several stations around the United States went live with their coverage including NBC in Atlanta who did an hour long Earth Hour special during the event. The Agenda with Steve Paikin on TVOntario ran its full program running only on candle light. In 2008, Google supported the event by turning its background black with a tagline “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn – Earth Hour.”
There are many who oppose the Earth Hour. It has been criticised as pure symbolism. Some came up with an alternative celebration called “Human Achievement Hour”. Participants in this celebration were asked to “celebrate the achievements of humanity such as eating dinner, seeing a film, driving around, keeping the heat on in your home “. But, seriously, I don’t find these criticism substantial. After all, the data available shows that there is improvement each year in saving energy during the Earth Hour celebration and the level of awareness too. Doing something is better than doing nothing and blaming the system, isn’t it?
So, what to do now? Now that you are ready to support EH, tell others about it. Use blog (as i did), social media, sms, call and make others aware. Those who are on twitter can add this twibbon to support EH: http://twibbon.com/join/earth-hour . On 27th march, switch off all the electronics appliances from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. You may have to miss the some part of the IPL match, but when you will switch on to watch the game you will be feeling like a winner. 🙂