An insight on the significance of Earth Hour


If we compress the time that the Earth was spun out of the nebula that formed the solar system – 4.5 billion years – to the current day into one year, the birth of mankind and all the events encompassing our era would fit the last second of the year.
Yet, in the short period of time we have existed, we have managed to pollute and destroy what nature took so long to build and refine. One of the most significant evolutionary innovations by nature was the idea of trapping millenia of excess sunlight that would otherwise continue to heat up the atmosphere, under the earth.

Yet, mankind released this energy back into the atmosphere during and after the industrial revolution. In the decades that followed, cities like London were covered in the soot and smog that covers the entire region like a choking, warm blanket. Yet, centuries later, we discover a new way to trap sunlight. Solar cells now do the job of sustaining man’s need for electricity to use technology that helps keep the whole world as a global village, not to mention for the operation of countless other time saving devices.

And now, the world needs to adopt this new innovation; this new technology that will help to reduce the gases that cause the warm blanket to form in the first place, or the greenhouse gases that cause the gradual warming of the atmosphere.

In 2007, a city in Australia decided to take the first step in global awareness. Sydney turned its lights off at 7:30 pm for an hour. Energy Australia reported a reduction of 10.2% consumption of energy during that 60 minutes. The landmark event garnered international attention, and the following year many more cities around the world followed suit, saving several tonnes of carbon dioxide – one of the greenhouse gases that is produced in abundance by mankind.

In 2009, television broadcasting channels in the Maldives suspended their transmission during the earth hour, in addition to numerous demonstrative walks and a no-driving rule. Along with people from more than 4,000 cities, towns and suburban areas, the Maldives joined in turning their lights off. Several government agencies and non-government organisations worked together in the hopes of reaching World Wild Fund’s (WWF) target participation of 1 billion people throughout the world.
2010 saw the Maldives take one step further and extended the no-driving rule from 4pm up to midnight, while vehicles on the road without authorisation were fined. Meanwhile throughout the world, several famous landmarks were darkened, in a record attempt that was joined by 128 countries, provinces and territories.

This year at 8:30pm, 26 March worldwide, the inhabitants of this planet will be switching off lights to mark the importance of energy conservation and also, sustain their actions from then on. 100 days later, an exhibition of the actions and events arising from the Earth hour will be organised to display the commitment by the growing community of environmentally-oriented people.

In the hope that this event will forever change the way us humans use this planet’s irreplaceable resources, the Earth Hour will help in making people and businesses realise their potential to apply greener methods of doing the same thing.

The Maldives has more reason than most other countries, being the country with the lowest mean height of land: about 2.2 metres above sea level. Being surrounded by the Indian Ocean and being composed of 99% sea, the Maldives has become the poster child for the burning issues of global warming and the direct effect thereof: rising sea-levels due to melting polar ice. Indeed, low-lying countries such as the Maldives and coastal geography of the world will be most affected.

Last year, several resorts and hotels in the Maldives also participated in the event. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa had made special arrangements for guests to opt for an organic moonlit massage with virgin coconut oil, manufactured locally, while Bandos Island Resort and Spa distributed awareness messages to their guests, they also stopped their generators during the hour.

Earth Hour activities in the Maldives as always will be lead by the Scout Association of Maldives. To arrange and coordinate your own earth hour activity, contact them via earthhourmaldives@gmail.com . Maldives Traveller will keep posting updates on news and events related to this year’s: ‘Earth Hour – Go beyond the Hour’. For more information on the Earth Hour, visit www.earthhour.org

Taken from Maldives Traveller

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