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Friday, March 27, 2009

Mumbai Will Join The Rest Of The World On Saturday In Switching Off Lights For 1 Hour


Mumbai Will Join The Rest Of The World On Saturday In Switching Off Lights For 1 Hour To Save Power And The Planet

Aamir Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and one billion others from 1000 cities— Helsinki, Nairobi, Las Vegas and the like—around the world have promised to switch off their lights for 60 minutes as part of the WWF Earth Hour movement to spread awareness about global warming.
    Dismiss it as mere symbolism at worst or laud it as a massive effort at sensitising people to save their planet before it's too late, the movement that began as an experiment in Thailand in 2005, then took off in Sydney in 2007, the idea has many takers who will put off the lights for 60 minutes from 8.30 pm local time in every country on Saturday. "Earth Hour, aims to highlight the voice of the people of the world and represent a visual mandate for meaningful policy on climate change,'' a WWF official said.
    The idea is not new to Mumbai. On December 15, 2007, a local campaign called Batti Bandh was organised by an enthusiastic group of young professionals. Groups of citizens came together during the outage to sing songs, hold candlelight dinners and organise games as gestures of solidarity. Leading from the front, pre-teens and teens went from house-to-house asking bemused housewives and elders to turn out the lights. Batti Bandh may not have bee very successful in terms of reach—Mumbai's sky
line did not dim—but it did create awareness about energy saving.
    City-based greens welcomed the WWF initiative and said the gesture will go a long way in creating awareness about climate change. "We should internalise this practice rather a public demonstration every year. By switcing off lights one hour every day we can shut down 50 thermal plants. The impact of climate change will be huge but unfortunately policy makers are not interested in making it a part of their poll agenda,'' said Bittu Sahgal editor of Sanctuary magazine. "The 26/7 floods were just a curtain raiser. We are just on the brink of a huge environmental disaster in the coming years," he warned.
    Agrees Debi Goenka, of Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) which has been fighting an almost losing battle to save the last stretch of mangroves in the city. "The WWF initiatve maybe just a symbolic gesture . But we need to begin somewhere. The youth should come out in large numbers and support the green cause or we may face yet another 26/7 soon,'' he said, adding the last remaining open spaces in the city are being usurped by builders.
    Sahgal said the increase in private transport has only added to
the woes. "We need better public transport system which can reduce pollution levels,'' he said.
    Rishi Agarwal, of Mangrove Society Of India, Mumbai, said though in October 2005, the Bombay High Court had passed an order disallowing construction within 50 metres around mangroves it
has been blatantly violated. "I will take this issue to the people,'' said Agarwal who is contesting in the Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North-west as an Independent.
WWF has made an effort to link up and bring all manner of players on board: from celebrity to corporate. Some of South Mumbai's tallest buildings have signed on—Air India building at Nariman Point and the two RBI towers will join monuments like the Sphinx, the Acropolis in Greece, the Empire State Building in New York and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur in darkness. Fifty corporates have promised to be part of the campaign including hotel groups like ITC and the Taj, banks like ICICI, Standard Chartered and HSBC, and tech giants such as Wipro, Google and HP.
WWF members in Mumbai will host cultural programmes at the Bombay Port Trust Garden in Colaba—a street play, folk dance and an acoustic music concert, followed by a human chain.
Climate activist and the author of Carbon Planet, Mukund Aparajit said, "The impact may not be measurable but it certainly helps spread awareness about the cause and how by bringing about lifestyle changes one can decrease carbon emissions.''


The Earth Hour is a campaign started in 2007 by World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) to create awareness about climate change and environmental problems by switching off lights for one hour
It was based on an idea successfully implemented in Thailand in 2005, and later in Sydney in 2007. It achieved worldwide participation in 2008 when 400 cities went dark
This year 1 billion people from 1000 cites in 75 countries, including India, will participate.
WWF says 2009 is a critical year in terms of the political decisions that will be made at global climate negotiations in December 2009.

Book: The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate
Climatologist David Archer makes a grim prediction — if we continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at alarming rates, seas are likely to rise by 50 metres.
Film: The Age of Stupid
It's 2055 in Franny Armstrong's film. An archivist (Pete Prostlethwait) who works in an Arctic that has melted, watches news and documentary footage from 1950-2008 and wonders why the world didn't halt a meltdown when it could have. Website: http://www.wwfindia.org/help/ greenliving-tips/ Send e-greetings instead of cards and water your garden early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation. These are just a couple of tips from a list of ways to lead a more eco-friendly life on World Wide Fund India's website.


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