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Going beyond the hour

Dhanusha Gokulan And Aisha Tariq (KT photos by Shoaib Anwer, Grace Guino, Nezar Balout, Mohammad Mustafa Khan)
Filed on April 1, 2012
Going beyond the hour

The lights went off around the country for an hour on Saturday night to mark Earth Hour 2012.


Going beyond the hour (/assets/oldimages/minhm2_31mar12t.jpg)From 8.30pm to 9.30pm, families and organisations switched off the power to send a powerful message on climate change. Activities took place all over the UAE.

Fourteen-year-old twins Karima and Shahd Khalid excitedly gripped glowing laser tassels and candles as the Burj Khalifa plunged into darkness. Several hundred residents and visitors in Dubai gathered around the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall fountain to participate in the worldwide campaign against global warming. The twins said that it is the first time that they are taking part.

Swiss nationals Maria and Oliver Peschart, also first time participants in Dubai, said: “It’s a great way to raise awareness and educate people on the importance on conservation of power.”

Participants from various schools, private and government organisations and environmental groups lit candles and stood together in solidarity against global warming.

The event attracted support from all sectors of the society. The turnout was overwhelming and saw great participation especially from children.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and MD and CEO of Dewa announced that Dewa would honour its Earth Hour challenge set to the Dubai community in which the authority had promised to organise a fund-raising ‘Victory Walk’ on World Earth Day. The proceeds would go for an environmental cause such as the sponsorship of a UAE national high school graduate to do a specialised bachelor degree in renewable energy.

Meanwhile, the Country Club Hotel, Dubai, led a group initiative to raise awareness by attempting a Guinness World Record by lighting 10,000 candles across 20 group venues, simultaneously. Almost 300 guests and staff in Dubai were joined by 9,700 other participants across 19 Country Club destinations in India at 7.45pm UAE time, lighting their candles.

Abu Dhabi’s Earth Hour began with a young man sharing tips on how to help save the environment. Ten-year-old Abdul Muqeet, also known as the ‘paper boy’, sat among his peers and showed them, step by step, how to make an envelope out of old newspaper.

At the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the venue of the capital’s Earth Hour event, large bins were placed for residents to deposit used items. Julie Ann of Dubai Drums led a group of enthusiastic attendees in a drum circle. Seventy amateurs from the crowd got the chance to sit down with a drum and follow along with the professional drummers’ beat.

“This is about what we can achieve together,” Julie Ann called out as the rhythm pulsed through the crowd, with many onlookers clapping along.

Before the lights went out, a group of Abu Dhabi motorcyclists drove up to the pavilion and arranged their bikes to form the number ‘60’, representing the 60 minutes in the event. The crowd gathered around the formation to count down to Earth Hour.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com, aisha@khaleejtimes.com





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