As Earth Hour cascades through time zones around the world today, millions of Indians across the country will be showing their support for action on climate change by voting with their light switch, starting at 8.30 pm and ending at 9.30 pm IST.
Millions of Indians, ranging from school children, individuals working with government bodies, hotels, businesses, municipalities and housing societies, with institutional support from their employers across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Bangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Dehradun, Shimla, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, will be tuning into Earth Hour by sweitching off their lights for one hour, making a global statement of concern about climate change and pushing the government for solutions to control the escalating crisis of global warming.
Organised by Worldwide Fund for nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) the world's largest multinational conservation organisation, participation in Earth Hour has grown globally dramatically by ever since its launch in Sidney in 2007, as iconic landmarks, major cities, corporations and organisations of all sizes, schools, towns and villages unite in this global effort. (See: Global Earth Hour's lights-out to be held on 28 March)
|The logo for Earth Hour |
(Image credit: http://www.earthhour.org)
In 2008, an estimated 50 million people from 371 cities across 35 countries turned their lights out in a united call for action on climate change, in the project that began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, as a one-city environmental campaign, with a participation of just 2 million. (See: London plunges into darkness to raise awareness on global warming)
In 2009, Earth Hour, aims to have 1 billion people in 1,000 cities switch off their lights. It is expected to be world's largest environmental awareness event ever, with over people from 1,500 cities including such cities as Atlanta, Las Vegas, Mumbai, Miami, New York, Beijing, Mexico City, Istanbul, Paris, Rome and Sydney participating. (See: Global black out for climate change action planned)
The Earth Hour will start in Fiji and then roll around the globe, time zone by time zone, throughout the night and WWF expects 2,800 cities and towns in more than 80 countries to support the event.
The Scouts, the world's largest youth movement started by the late Lord Baden-Powell in 1907, with more than 28 million members in 160 countries today, will take the lead in mobilising support through thousands of community groups around the world for Earth Hour.
India is participating in the Earth Hour for the first time although Mumbai had a campaign in 2007 called 'Batti Bandh' modelled on the Sydney Earth Hour, which was initiated by concerned citizens, with cocerned individual switching off their lights for 1 hour on the night of 15 December 2007.
Mumbai will be joining with other cities throughout the world for Earth Hour with the Mayor of Mumbai, Shubha Raul urging Mumbaikars to put off all non-essential lights for one hour. She has also mailed letters to housing societies asking them to use candles and switch off the lights.
Several business establishments, including the Air India, the Reserve Bank of India buildings, the Indian Institute of Technology, Poway and local bodies like the headquarters of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mayor's bungalow at Shivaji Park will also plunge into darkness for one hour from 8.30pm onwards.
Several five-star hotels are participating and have agreed to switch off their lights tonight. The area around Mumbai's tony suburb of Bandra, with the iconic Mount Mary Church along with about 700 housing societies are going to participate in the Earth Hour.
In Delhi, nearly 20,000 school students will participate in the Earth Hour and most hotels like the ITC Welcomgroup have joined the initiative with programmes that would involve minimal use of lights and many homes, offices and business establishments in Delhi will also be involved in this campaign.
In Bangalore, the IT hub of India, offices, IT majors, homes, business establishments and shopping malls on Brigade Road and M G Road will shut off lights and use candles in support of Earth Hour today.
The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM), has highlighted to the citizens of Bangalore, the importance of Earth Hour since the city face an acute shortage of power.
In Chennai, environmentalists and WWF volunteers are going around the city campaigning about Earth Hour by going to schools, collages and companies to participate in this event. The Marriott and Sheraton Park hotels in Chennai have agreed to participate in the event.
Environmentalists from Panjab University in Chandigargh, have been working tirelessly to rope in school students, shopkeepers and other residents of the Tricity to participate in the campaign and although the residents were not eager last year, but this year because of the huge publicity, there is a vast following for the event.
At the university campus hostel, students will switch off their room lights for one hour. Students say that though Earth Hour may not put a full stop to global warming, it will certainly create awareness.
Not all countries are participating in the event though; G20 members Japan and Saudi Arabia have said that they will not participate in the event, according to the Earth Hour organisers.
During the largest climate change event in history, India will be joined by more than 84 countries and over 3,900 cities, towns and villages around the world, with widespread participation in 66 national capitals and 9 of the 10 most populated metropolises in the world have confirmed their participation in this year's event.
Some of the world's most prominent cities outside India to participate in the Earth Hour are:
|Athens ||Copenhagen ||Moscow |
|Bangkok ||Dubai ||Mumbai |
|Barcelona ||Hong Kong ||Nairobi |
|Beijing ||Istanbul ||New York |
|Berlin ||Kuala Lumpur ||Paris |
|Buenos Aires ||London ||Rio de Janeiro |
|Cairo ||Manila ||Rome |
|Cape Town ||Mexico City ||Singapore|
| Toronto || |
The ancient Great Pyramids of Giza, heads the list of more than 800 historic global landmarks around the world that will power out for Earth Hour, including:
|Acropolis in Athens ||Gaudi Building in Barcelona |
|Arc de Triomphe in Paris ||The London Eye |
|Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing ||The Merlion in Singapore |
|Burj Dubai (world's tallest unfinished building) ||Millennium Stadium in Cardiff |
|CN Tower in Toronto ||Niagara Falls in Canada|
|Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro ||Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong |
|Colosseum in Rome ||Tapei 101 (world's tallest building) |
|Dome of St. Peter in Rome ||Tower Bridge in London |
|Edinburgh Castle ||Table Mountain in Cape Town |
|Eiffel Tower in Paris ||Wembley Stadium Arch in London |
Interesting Earth Hour facts:
- Earth Hour has 1.1 million online social network supporters
- Earth Hour videos are being viewed online every 0.8 seconds
- Earth Hour is regularly trending amongst the most tweeted topics on Twitter
- The term 'Earth Hour' has appeared online close to 1 million times in the past twenty-four hours