UAE marks Earth Hour

Dubai: The UAE this evening joined hundreds of countries in marking the annual Earth Hour initiative. In its 8th year, Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and 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.

Public and private sectors and residents were urged to switch off their lights and unplug non-essential appliances between 8.30 and 9.30 tonight, to show their pledge towards a greener future.

Landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque switched off their external lighting between 8.30pm and 9.30pm to mark Earth Hour, the world’s largest environmental action on climate change.

Authorities are also using the occasion to promote the use of energy-efficient light bulbs. UAE encourages residents to replace conventional light bulbs with energy-efficient lighting such as CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps), Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and halogen lamps.

In Dubai, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) led the celebrations at Bay Avenue Park from 5pm to 8.30pm and announced that it had achieved a reduction of 255 mwh of electricity during the 60-minute event.During Earth Hour 2013, the Dewa achieved a reduction of 200,000 kWh of electricity and 120kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

Across the world towards the end of March annually, Earth Hour encourages communities, people, households, businesses – basically, everyone – to switch lights off for one hour as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

While Earth Hour has grown from a single lights out event to the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, the actual dedicated hour remains a key driver of wider engagement to act on environmental priorities across the world.

Starting in New Zealand, Earth Hour made its way through 157 countries and territories passing all seven continents including Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, then to North and South America, and even to Antarctica, before ending in Tahiti.

“It is always extraordinary to see cities and landmarks involved in Earth Hour, but in 2014 it is the stories and activities happening beyond the hour that show this event has evolved into a movement driven by the power of the crowd,” said Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour from the movement’s home in Singapore.

“When the lights go off, let’s remember Earth Hour is far more than an hour. There is a far bigger impact than the one-hour event. We are here to celebrate that we all commit to going ‘beyond the hour’ in living greener lives,” said Dr. Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director General Designate. “Let’s remember throughout the year ahead what we have come here to celebrate – that each of us has the power to make a real difference in the world. Each of us can be a Super Hero for the planet.”