Earth Hour: Durban and Cape Town stadiums to switch off their lights

2010-03-26 00:00

TWO of the newly completed 2010 World Cup stadiums will be darkened for an hour in a gesture to call for action on climate change.

The Moses Mabhida and Cape Town stadiums will go dark on Saturday at 8.30 pm as part of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Earth Hour, a global effort to mobilise nations in taking action on climate change, WWF said in a recent media release.

Earth Hour is a global WWF initiative in which individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour.

The event began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, where about two million people switched off their lights for an hour.

In South Africa this year, over 100 companies, educational institutions and more than 5 000 individuals have pledged to participate.

Said WWF-SA chief executive officer Dr Morné du Plessis,“This is a crucial year for this country, in which we’ll be proud to showcase our diversity, abilities and hospitality to the world during the Fifa World Cup. But it’s also a crucial year for action on climate change.

“The simple act of switching off non-essential lighting will send a powerful message to leaders that the time to act on climate change is now.

“This is especially important in South Africa, because we need to drive home the realisation that climate change affects the poor and has direct implications for economic growth.”

Du Plessis will lead a parade in Durban as well as flick a 1,8 metre-high switch to douse the lights on the Cape Town stadium and Table Mountain.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a firm supporter of the initiative, will be among the celebrities who will switch off their lights on Saturday.

The Copenhagen climate summit in December failed to deliver the climate deal the planet needs, so WWF is challenging individuals to take the lead by pledging to reduce their own carbon footprint, Dr du Plessis said.

“We have to show world leaders that we are serious about tackling climate change and that we want them to deliver a fair, effective and binding climate deal,” he said.

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