In darkness we build new light

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In darkness we build new light

DUBAI — It’s 7.30pm at Burj Plaza, one hour before the UAE flicks off its lights to honour the environment and partake in global Earth Hour, and it’s bright — really bright.

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Published: Sat 23 Mar 2013, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:28 AM

“There’s too much light here,” says a woman named Shiraz, who is walking through the plaza with her teenage daughter, completely oblivious to the fact Earth Hour is about to strike in an hour’s time.

LED lights scatter the area, while the stage which is playing host to a number of musicians, is lit up intensely. But this is not the point.

Eye of the Emirates at Al Qasba in Sharjah before and during earth Hour on Saturday night. — KT photos by M. Sajjad

Because as Earth Hour hit at 8.30pm, large tracts of the Emirates were awash with the glow of candlelight. Government organisations, business residences, corporations, hotels and households switched off excess power for the duration of an hour in a show of solidarity for the sake of the planet.

In the lead up to the hour of darkness, more than 1,000 votive candles showing “Earth 60+ Dubai 2013” lit up the Burj Plaza floor. Splashy and Sparky, cartoonesque mascots, regaled the hundreds of children present at the event with their families.

At least 4,000 black T-shirts with the Earth Hour sign were snapped up by dedicated environmentalists, while LED watches, glow sticks and Earth Hour badges were also handed out.

In response to the nationwide initiative launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under the theme A Green Economy for a Sustainable Development, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the National Voluntary Social Programme, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), jointly celebrated the event.

Dewa, in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Emirates Wildlife Society, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Emaar Properties, organised the event in Dubai this year.

A highlight of the event was the ‘Earth Hour Walk’ which started at Burj Plaza in Downtown Dubai, overlooking the Burj Khalifa. The performance of The Dubai Fountain — stalled for the hour — commenced only after Earth Hour. Same with the lighting on The Burj Steps and the Waterfront Promenade — also dimmed till 9.30. Within The Dubai Mall, all non-essential lights were off, as it was an hour of unusual darkness for the movie theatre, ice rink and, perhaps most strikingly, the Dubai Aquarium.

Even Ski Dubai glowed in the dark for Earth Hour with candle torches lining the slope to create the illusion of a candle descent, culminating into a faux camp fire at the bottom of the slope. Numerous Ski Dubai instructors were fitted in glow-in-the-dark uniforms customised for the occasion, and skied down the alpine-inspired slopes. Visitors were gifted glow sticks and encouraged to become a part of the Ski Dubai awareness message, by waving their glow sticks in unison.

The free zone business park dedicated to facilitating and fostering the growth of the alternative energy and environmental industries in Dubai ENPARK also led a campaign for yesterday’s Earth Hour.

Earlier, the RTA’s Power Saving Team and The RTA Women’s Committee together had urged employees to engage in various awareness-raising campaigns through RTA’s portal, intranet pages, Al Masar magazine, social networking sites, posters, and leaflet drops, in addition to encouraging all employees to turn off lights at their homes as well.

The RTA’s message was to get members of the public riding mass transit modes, such as the metro and public buses, since using these modes would contribute to slashing the carbon footprint, preserving the environment and promoting public health.

RTA’s director of marketing and corporate communication Aysha Al Busmait said that at Al Ghubaiba Metro Station, station lights were turned off and replaced by lanterns carried by volunteers.

RAK Properties who own several residential buildings urged all residents to switch off lights, alongside other residential and governmental buildings in Ras Al Khaimah and the other emirates. Emaar Properties PJSC, too, observed Earth Hour 2013 in the Annual ‘Earth Hour Walk’ held at Downtown Dubai.

nivriti@khaleejtimes.com



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