Why UAE will go darker than usual tonight
UAE residents to join millions across the world to observe Earth Hour.
Tonight, like in previous years, on the last Saturday of March, it will be lights off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm in the household of Arnold Tolentino in Al Barsha. His family will be joining millions more around the world in turning off unnecessary lights and appliances during Earth Hour.
The movement, which started as a symbolic lights-out initiative in Sydney in 2007, has become the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action in combating climate change and protecting our only planet.
Last year, 188 countries around the world took part in Earth Hour, with lights switched off in around 18,000 landmarks and monuments - from Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest tower, to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi; Eiffel Tower in Paris; Sydney Opera House; Big Ben in London; Tokyo Sky Tree; New York's Empire State Building, the Giza Pyramids; and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Offices and residences and peoples of all ages in the world capitals and major cities also took part in the global event last year to raise awareness about the importance of nature and the urgent need to build a healthy, sustainable future - and planet - for all.
It is good to note that Dubai was the first Arab city to organise Earth Hour back in 2008. This year, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) is organising Earth Hour Walkathon and activities at Marasi Promenade Business Bay under the theme 'Connect to Earth'. UAE residents are also encouraged to use social media to promote the campaign using the hashtags #EarthHourDubai and #Connect2Earth.
According to Dewa, Dubai has been getting impressive results in reducing electricity use and carbon emissions. In last year's Earth Hour celebration, Dewa recorded savings of 323 megawatts (MW) in electricity consumption in Dubai, a 32 per cent further reduction compared to 2017 event. And the energy saved is equivalent to a reduction of 140 tonnes CO2 emissions.
"The results achieved by Dubai each year emphasise the important role society plays in reducing energy use and the carbon footprint. Earth Hour motivates everyone to adopt a conscious and responsible lifestyle in electricity and water use," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa.
"Earth Hour motivates everyone to adopt a conscious and responsible lifestyle in electricity and water use. This supports the nation's efforts to reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, and ensure their sustainability, for generations to come. Earth Hour is more than just reducing our energy use or reducing carbon emissions. It's about the sensible use of our resources and making environmental protection a way of life to help deal with climate change," said Al Tayer.
The UAE is also making significant changes in erasing its mark as having one of highest per capita carbon footprints in the world.
In a previous opinion piece published by Khaleej Times, Al Tayer said: "Dubai is moving forward in the fields of renewable energy, sustainability and the environment, and enhancing its efficiency. The Supreme Council of Energy has set a strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16 per cent, equivalent to reducing 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2021.
The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 will also ensure the diversification and growth of the economy while reducing carbon dioxide by 70 per cent and increasing energy efficiency by 40 per cent.
As for the residents, there are simple, practical and impactful steps to help save the planet.
Tolentino told Khaleej Times: "Earth Hour has helped in raising environmental awareness and engaging in conversations on why nature matters. But after this annual event, I make sure that me and my kids don't lose our commitment to protect our planet."
"We can always follow the 3Rs: Re-use, reduce and recycle. We need to continue saving our water consumption at home; use more energy efficient appliances; avoid single-use plastic; prefer public transport; and more importantly, encourage our family and neighbours to be environmentally conscious," he added.
"After all, Earth Hour is not only about switching off the lights and getting one hour in the dark, it's about creating a brighter future - for all."
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