I actually forgot about Earth Hour this year. I’m not supposed to but I did. I only realised one hour before, so thankfully I could still do my bit.
I don’t know how many of us go around thinking, “I’m only one person. How could me switching off my lights for one hour possibly have any kind of impact on global warming?” Probably a lot of people.
Don’t get confused, Earth Hour DOES NOT aim at conserving power – the goal of Earth Hour is to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. The event was conceived by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and The Sydney Morning Herald, and first took place in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney’s lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. Today, Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the WWF and is held on the last Saturday of March annually
My son, Danial, is really good at this. I remember I was in Malaysia in March 2009 and we were going to have pasta for dinner at home when he reminded me, “Hey Mum, by the way, its Earth Hour tonight!”
We did it “by the book” – not only did we eat by candlelight, we cooked by candlelight!
At 8:30 pm sharp that night, the skyline changed. The view from our balcony was different from the usual view. The Petronas Twin Towers were dark and so was the KL Tower. Many other buildings had also switched off their lights.
It was an unfamiliar skyline.
Last year we were in Kuwait during Earth Hour. We happened to be out that night relaxing on the terrace with a drink at the Movenpick Hotel nearby in Al-Bidaa. Five minutes before 8:30pm, we saw some hotel staff placing some oil lamps on a bamboo stalk on the beach around where we were sitting and at Earth Hour all the non-essential hotel lights went off. There were already tea lamps on all the tables where we were so it was really cosy on the terrace. I have to say I was quite surprised at the effort.
So this year, we were at home and I told hubby,”In one hour we’ll switch off all non-essential lights in our apartment, OK?” And he said OK. I looked outside and saw that the terrace and garage lights were on, of course. The building haris (janitor) always turned them on at dusk and off at 10:30pm. Surprisingly, on seeing that, my dear husband opened the front door and went outside to switch them off.
So there we were, commemorating Earth Hour doing our bit for global warming. Unfortunately at 9:10pm, the haris turned the outside lights back on! Oh well…
In the rest of Kuwait this year, the official celebration of this year’s Earth Hour was organised by the “Kuwait Team for Global Warming” group at the Sahara Resort and Golf Club in Subhan. Around the city, more than fifty locations went dark for one hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm and these included some well-known buildings and landmarks like the spanking new AlHamra Tower, the Avenues Mall, Marina Mall, Kuwait Towers, Liberation Tower, United Tijaria Tower, Souq Sharq etc.
Around the world, hundreds of millions of people, in thousands of cities, at hundreds of landmarks, on all seven continents, switched off their lights for one hour to display a universal commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all — the planet.
Lets hope this action sends a powerful message for action on climate change and a commitment to go beyond the hour to commit to lasting action for the planet.
Believe it or not, things can change when people come together for a common cause.