By Farhana Chowdhury

The UAE will observe the Earth Hour, a global event being observed in all the world in a bid to reduce carbon emission from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on March 26.

Burj Khalifa Dubai
Burj Khalifa Dubai

Come Saturday (March 26) evening and every corner of  the UAE including the glittering Burj Khalifa, which has peak electricity demand to light up about 500,000 bulbs of 100w each, will be shrouded in darkness except for a few essential lights as part of Earth Hour and the city’s bid against climate change.

Earth Hour, a global event being observed in all the world in a bid to reduce carbon emission from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on March 26, calls upon the public to switch off all the electric equipment including lights.

“Everyone has responsibility, everyone has power, and everyone can lead and take action. We are set out to help tackle climate change by raising awareness on the issue through campaigns such as Earth Hour, where we encourage everyone, government, business, education institutions and individuals to take action to reduce their ecological footprint by conserving energy and water. We encourage residents to participate with these campaigns to become aware of what they can do to play a role in reducing carbon in the atmosphere,” said Ida Tillisch, Acting Director-General of Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF (EWS-WWF), one of the main supporters of Earth Hour in the UAE.

The 60-minute observance that originated in Australia in 2007 is known as the largest voluntary event in the world where age, nationality and gender  knows no bounds and this is the UAE’s third time participating in the global event.

It is no news that the UAE is responsible for leaving large footprints per capita in the world but the country is taking serious measures to cap its emissions.

“The UAE has one of the highest ecological footprints per capita in the world, the majority which is carbon-related, largely because of intensive consumption of energy. It is worth noting that the residential sector is responsible for nearly 57 per cent of this ecological footprint, meaning that each of us can make a big difference if we save energy at home,” she said.

According to Tillisch, making a simple change such as switching to energy-saving light bulbs like LEDs or CFLs in an average two-bedroom apartment can save over Dh1,000 per year.

Government bodies, organisations and residents are urged to go beyond Earth Hour and contribute to change for the better to secure the planet’s future in terms of environment.

“There are simple steps we can all do to save energy, and not only is it good for the environment, but it will also save your money too. A change of behaviour from residents can have a big impact. We have received tremendous support from so many organisations and individuals, who are all hoping to make this Earth Hour the most significant Earth Hour in the UAE in terms of landmark participation, lights off and gatherings across the emirates,” she said.

Make the change

1)   Turn off the lights and air conditioner when you do not need them.

2)   Hang clothes out to dry instead of using a tumbler.

3)   Take short showers instead of baths (or long showers).

4)   If you’ve got a garden, plan your landscaping with plants that use minimal water and make sure you water when the sun is low.

5)   Don’t wash your car with a hose, use a bucket instead.

6)   Always carry a bag with you when you go shopping so you don’t use plastic bags.

(Courtesy of Ida Tillisch, EWS-WWF)