No, silly you, it’s not – yet – the end of the world. But it could be, soon enough, if you and the rest of humanity fail to heed the warning signs of global warming, the objective of the global movement called Earth Hour.
At least 371 cities, 26 of them major ones, around the world will turn off their lights for one hour beginning at 0900 GMT (that’s 8 p.m. Saturday if you’re in Manila) plunging millions of people into darkness to raise awareness about global warming.
Cities that have officially signed on for the event include Sydney (where the movement originated), Adelaide, Atlanta, Bangkok, Brisbane, Canberra, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Darwin, Dublin, Hobart, Manila, Melbourne, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Perth, Phoenix, San Francisco, Suva, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Vancouver.
They will all switch off lights on their major landmarks and encourage businesses and homeowners to do the same.
Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia last year and has become a global event, sweeping across 35 countries this year.
From 8:00 pm local time in Sydney, the energy-saving campaign will see such landmarks as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House bathed only in moonlight, with restaurant diners eating by candlelight and city skyscrapers blanketed in darkness.
Organizers hope the campaign will encourage people to be more aware of their energy usage, knowing that producing electricity pollutes the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels which are contributing to global warming.
But of course this is just a small step – a very small step – in solving the problem of global warming.
“Switching the lights off for an hour is not going to make a dent in global emissions,” organizer Charles Stevens, of the environmental group WWF, said. “But what it does do is it is a great catalyst for much bigger changes. It engages people in the processes of becoming more energy efficient.”
Moreover, an hour of darkness is not just symbolism but real action that actually contributes to solving mankind’s problems. During last year’s Earth Hour in Sydney, the local authorities there reported a savings of 10.2 percent of the city’s energy usage. That’s equivalent to taking 48,000 cars off the road. If all other cities in the world do the same, just think of the humongous energy savings.
But more important than energy conservation is the idea that a person is not too insignificant or small to contribute to something as big as saving our planet. The little things that we do towards conserving energy can and will add up to something big, which will surely make a dent in the effort to stop global warming.
So let’s join this global movement, all of us. For one hour tonight, let’s turn off all the lights in our house, pull the plug of all our appliances, and light just one or two candles.
No, your neighbors wouldn’t think that the electric company cut your connections because of failure to pay your bills. This is because chances are, your neighbors will be switching their lights off also.
The Earth as viewed from the Moon. (Nasa photo)