Rethink, reuse and reduce

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Rethink, reuse and reduce

Earth Hour is not just about one single hour; it is about going beyond the hour and making changes to your everyday habits that lead to a lasting sustainable lifestyle. These changes can be big or small, at your home or at your office.

By Reem Al Thawadi

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Published: Fri 22 Mar 2013, 12:45 AM

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

Our planet is facing big challenges that need a big change, and big change needs each and every one of us. Even small changes, when they are sustained and done on a large scale, can make a tangible difference and Earth Hour is symbolic of that theory and belief.

Launched in 2007 in just one city, the event now spans more than 152 countries and covers 6,950 cities worldwide, including 14 Arab nations. It continues to gather pace as the number of countries, cities, business and individuals grows yearly.

However, how can we stop old habits from creeping in? When millions of people switch off lights around the globe during Earth Hour, as a unit, we can all make a difference, and for an hour, darkness shrouds entire cities. But how can we ensure that we remember to turn lights off when we head out, switch the computers off overnight, turn the tap off when we brush our teeth?

One good tip is to always remember that we are interconnected, with each other and with the world, and each decision or choice that we make will have an impact on the environment around us. When we consume more energy than what we actually need, it is not only about the cost that we incur but, more importantly, it is about the price that the planet pays in resources that will be squandered with no return or benefit. We often forget that everything we consume and buy uses resources that we share with other ecosystems and other residents of our planet.

Rethinking our choices can help us take responsibility for our actions, ensuring a prosperous and a sustainable lifestyle for us today and for the generations to come. Since Earth Hour shows the power that we have when we unite for just one hour, we are calling on everyone to make every hour count by adopting long-term sustainable change.

(Reem Al Thawadi is the Communications Manager of EWS-WWF)


Let’s start today by conserving energy and water to reduce our impact on the planet. We all have an important role to play and it is imperative that each individual takes action.

Follow these simple tips towards a more sustainable lifestyle:

Try leaving your car at home a few times a week and hop on the metro or bus, walk or use your bicycle

Get a reusable water bottle and take a pledge to stop using disposable plastic bottles

Replace your regular bulbs with energy-saving ones. They are much more efficient and last up to 10 times longer

Set your air-conditioning to 2-3 degrees higher than you normally do. You’ll hardly notice the difference, but it will make a difference to your energy use

Use a bucket not a hose when washing your car. You will save up to 180 litres of water per wash

When brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing vegetables or dishes, remember to turn the tap off. You will save up to 34 litres each time

Go native and choose local plants as they need less water and do better in the UAE climate

If you have an extension lead connected to a wall point and it’s switched on, you’re needlessly wasting power. Switch off and unplug it!

Replace a meaty meal or two each week with a vegetarian option and you will help lower carbon emission

Look for sustainable fish options and contribute to healthier oceans. If you are in the UAE, you can use the ‘Choose Wisely’ consumer fish guide ( to help you select more sustainable options

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