The power of darkness revealed by Earth Hour 2010

2010-03-30 12:45

DESPITE what might appear to be growing climate change scepticism

in the wake of controversies surrounding the latest Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change (IPCC) report, more South Africans switched their lights off

during Earth hour on Saturday than during last year’s event.

Figures obtained from Eskom yesterday showed that 420mW less

electricity was used between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday, 20mW higher than

savings from last year.

The official participation numbers and statistics, to be confirmed

by the World Wild Life Fund (WWF), the organisers for the global initiative, the

opinion was that this year’s “lights out” initiative in support against climate

change took the success of last year’s event a step forward.

Carolyn Cramer, media relations manager for WWF South Africa, the

national organisers of the event, noted that in South Africa approximately 50

cities officially took part and 200 companies pledged their involvement.

Companies included Nedbank, Virgin Active, Vodacom and Woolworths.

The central message of Earth Hour was to show solidarity against

climate change and inspire a behaviour change around the way people use and view

electricity, said Sarah Rushmere, Electricity Efficiency Campaign Manager at the


“Really the central message is that it should be Earth Hour, every

hour of every day,” said Rushmere warning that we’re dangerously close to a

power outage situation.

“Trying to keep the lights on for the next few years is going to be

the big thing,” said Rushmere

She said she was excited about how widely the Earth Hour initiative

was spread. “It was fantastic to see on Twitter and Facebook the number of

people who were talking about it.”

Social networking site Twitter had 2 294 followers for the official

WWF South Africa Earth Hour and Facebook group “Earth Hour 2010” fans for South

Africa had 7 557 fans.

Earth Hour patron Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated on a WWF

press release that climate change was “the greatest human-induced crisis facing

the world today”.

South Africa was one of more than 125 countries globally to switch

off their lights in a show of solidarity against global warming and supporting

calls for effective action against carbon emission.

Cape Town’s Table mountain entered into the darkness with some of

the world’s spectacles including the Sphinx of Giza, St Paul’s Cathedral and

even the Las Vegas Strip.

Cape Town turned off its mountain, its stadium and government

buildings in order to set an example. In addition to switching off lights many

South African’s participated in a wide variety of activities including

candle-lit dinners in Stellenbosch and a jazz festival in Stanford.

– West Cape


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