Mar 25, 2011

Earth Hour

Saturday 26 March is an exciting day because I will be joining millions of people around the world celebrating the Earth Hour at 8.30pm. Every year Earth Hour asks individuals, businesses and communities worldwide to show their commitment to the environment by switching the lights off for one hour. This Earth Hour, I hope you will turn off your lights too. But when the lights go back on, we need to go beyond the hour and think about what we can change in our daily lives that will benefit the planet.

I have been participating in the Earth Hour for the last few years; to me this is about sending an important massage to the world showing what we can all achieve together globally. Consequently, our actions taken together will make the world a better place. In order to do that, I believe we all need to go beyond the Earth Hour to make a difference and change the world we all live in.

We can do things like: Recycling and reusing, reducing the use of plastics and the use of paper products (we can use recycled ones instead of the conventional ones that are bleached), buying Organic and locally grown foods that are not processed, turning off the lights when leaving the room, plugging off all unused electronic appliances, buying energy efficient appliances, and taking shorter showers.     

There are hundreds of countries around the world joining the Earth Hour by doing different things. Here are some of the things they did earlier today:
In mainland China, 84 cities committed to go beyond the hour this Earth Hour, with major urban centers from the southwest to northeast switching off their lights and taking action for the planet.
Beijing’s most famous landmarks including the Olympic sites – Bird's Nest and Water Cube - turned their lights off for an hour. This is in addition to the China World Trade Centre Tower 3, the tallest building in Beijing.

The League of Cities and Municipalities ensured an overwhelming turn-out for Earth Hour in the Philippines by signing up 1661 cities and communities for the event. After a minute’s silence for Japan and the planet, acoustic performances provided low-carbon entertainment at the switch-off event. The Department of Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras lit the official candle outside the Mall of Asia at Pasay City followed by the vice president of The Philippine’s Climate Change Commission. A long line of government and company representatives, celebrities, regional representatives and students then lit their candles from the official candle and recited their pledges for beyond the hour actions for the environment. 

As millions of people across the country switched off the lights, Australia’s most inspiring stories of people going beyond the hour were recognized at the inaugural WWF Earth Hour Awards.
In further proof of Earth Hour’s exponential growth, WWF Canada saw a 37% increase in the number of cities participating in Earth Hour this year with their national list of cities growing to 417.

In the end,millions of people join together to make an impact in the environment, because they believe that their actions add up to make a difference. A very small action like turning off the lights when leaving the room, can turn into a much bigger action when done globally. So instead of feeling insignificant, just start by doing something small to change the world. I hope you all join me this Saturday first by switching your lights off, and then trying to go beyond the Earth Hour by doing more.

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