Johannesburg – As the clock shows it is 8.30pm on Saturday in their part of the world, people in cities will switch off their lights for an hour in a show of support for energy-saving and to help raise awareness about climate change.
Hundreds of millions of people in more than 7 000 cities in 160 countries are expected to observe the symbolic hour of darkness, with this year’s event focusing on climate change, which affects food, energy and water security.
Experts have said that while this generation is the first to experience the effects of climate change, it is also the last that will be able to do something to slow it down.
Before Earth Hour, people are being asked to heed a call by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to join the Earth Hour movement online “to send out a clear message (to global leaders) that the citizens of the world want action on climate change”.
South Africans may sign up with the movement at http://www.earthhour.org. za/movement/join.
Earth Hour was initiated by WWF in 2007 as part of a global campaign to raise environmental awareness.
It is observed on the last Saturday in March.
Several local authorities have signed up for the Earth Hour City Challenge, organised by WWF in partnership with ICLEI Africa. Cape Town was named the Global Earth Hour Capital for last year, in recognition of its efforts to promote green technologies.
The Earth Hour City Challenge rewards cities that show leadership in their efforts to build a sustainable and safe energy future. This year Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane have been shortlisted, along with 41 other cities around the world.