by Alfie D'souza-Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: For Mangaloreans, 'Lights Out' or 'Earth Hour' is something that is not new or to be surprised of, because in the City of Mangaluru it seems like everyday we have "Lights Out" or "Earth Hour" -thanks to MESCOM who play hide-n-seek with its customers switching off power every now and then. You never know when there will be a black out. But that's a different story, but coming to the real awareness project called "Earth Hour" that is commemorated all over the world, which is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet/save energy,is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.
In Mangaluru, in keeping with their adherence towards preserving and promoting a healthy planet, Hotel Taj Gateway-Bunder Road, Mangaluru reiterated its support to the worldwide movement - Earth Hour 2015, the global environmental awareness event created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), as they switched off their lights on Saturday, 30 March 2015 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. Hotel Taj Gateway-Mangaluru is one among the nearly 100 Taj hotels in India across all its brands which include Luxury, Vivanta by Taj and The Gateway Hotels, which joined millions around the world to send a powerful message about a brighter future for the planet.
The following photos were taken at Hotel Taj Gateway at 8.25pm before the "Earth Hour"
As soon as the electric lights were switched off, Peter Nirmal -General Manager of Taj Gateway-Mangaluru along with few other hotel staff lighted candles placed on the traditional Deepa. Speaking to me on the initiative, Peter Nirmal said, ďIn the ever-changing environmental conditions, we believe itís imperative for every business to contribute towards the betterment of our planet. Taj Hotels always believes in encouraging awareness on environment; we thank (World Wildlife Fund-India (WWF) for introducing this noble cause and bringing together people worldwide to participate in Earth Hour 2015. We do this [turn out the lights] each year to call attention to the need for climate action now and the brighter future that lies ahead if we act together.It's nice to note that WWF has taken the an initiative at the global level that touches the lives of innumerable individuals and helps them understand the severe effects of climate change. Me along with the staff at Taj Gateway are honored to be part of this great event-Earth Hour 2015".
The following photos were taken at Hotel Taj Gateway at 8.31pm after"Earth Hour" kicked in
A letter signed by GM Peter Nirmal had been placed in each hotel room which stated, "We at The Gateway Hotel-Mangaluru are convinced that the world's environmental issues don't have to overwhelm us. Small things we do every day can make a better future. Come join the movement and make your commitment to a better planet. Turn off your lights foe Earth Hour from 8.30 pm-9.30 pm and show your commitment to a better future. Thank you for your support". And it was found that the room guests obliged to the letter by switching off the lights for an hour- Indeed a "Great Support" for a good cause by the hotel room guests.
Making a remarkable history across the globe, Earth Hour 2015 has become the biggest organized Earth Hour event ever. With a record of over 135 countries and territories that joined the global display of climate action including iconic buildings and landmarks in Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and America observed the power switch off creating a worldwide effort to support a common cause. I am quite sure that this earth Hour did bring together people across the globe to express concern over climate change. This campaign provided a platform to create awareness on renewable energy among individuals, corporate entities and decision-makers to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Earth Hour aimed to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world. On Saturday, many organizations and people across India and world turned off their lights for an hour. But there is much, much more. The full ambition of the organizers of this campaign is to make people to take action beyond the hour. Whether itís supporting a crowdfunding or crowdsourcing campaign onwww.earthhour.org or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or starting the movement in their own community. The vision is always to do more, so make the light switch the beginning of your journey.
Going back to the history, The first Earth Hour event was on March 31 2007. WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action. More than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour in the first Earth Hour event. Earth Hour 2015 will mark the ninth year of the campaign. You may ask, Is Earth Hour an annual event? Earth Hour is more than an annual event Ė it is a movement that culminates in an hour of inspiration across the world held towards the end of March each year.
Earth Hour embraces technology to spread the message of positive environmental action across the world, and to replace more inefficient means of living our lives. Technology is key to a sustainable future that is aspirational. From LED lights, to hybrid vehicles, to developing replacements for unsustainable use of resources - Earth Hour has thrived off the back of the development in digital technology.
This picture of the Taipei 101 building was taken just before Earth Hour (Reuters)
People celebrate Earth Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. After eight years, itís clear everyone will not switch back on his or her lights simultaneously. "Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March?" you may ask- that's because "The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global Ďlights outí event. So this year Earth Hour 2015 was held on Saturday 28 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM as per respective local time zone.
In Sydney--Australia during Earth Hour 2015
It is learned that Earth Hour 2013 took place in more than 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009. There were around 3395 landmarks that participated. This year, all those who registered in Earth Hour 2015 -individuals, communities and businesses who made a commitment to turn their lights off for an hour from 8.30PM on Saturday 28 March, it was a acknowledgement of an act that they undertook for the benefit of the planet. I hope that these individuals, communities and businesses will take action beyond the hour, and not just on Earth Hour 2015.
St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow before and after the lights went out (Reuters)
We should also know that participating in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour. Earth Hour takes every effort to minimize our footprint, not just for the hour but also all year round. All of Earth Hour Globalís emissions are offset and the campaign embraces digital technology to minimize the usage of natural resources and to spread their message.
About Earth Hour?
Earth Hour came from a think tank initiated by Earth Hour CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley, resulting in the formation of a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media to address the climate change issue. In 2007, there was still a degree of scepticism and denial about the issue of climate change. Earth Hour came as the inspiration to rally people to the reality of climate change and start a dialogue about what we as individuals can do to help address the greatest problem facing our planet today. Leo Burnett partnered with WWF to promote the idea and help make the campaign a reality in Sydney, a campaign which has now gone beyond climate change to symbolise the growing global pursuit of a better, healthier world.
Earth Hour is an initiative of WWF. In 2007, WWF initiated Earth Hour as a way of engaging a broad section of society in the environmental issues challenging citizens across the world. WWF embraced the idea of an open sourced campaign that would allow communities and organisations to become part of a global movement to protect out planet.