Millions to participate in Earth Hour; Rashtrapati Bhavan, CST to go dark

  • Deepshikha Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2015 15:19 IST

Millions across the globe will switch off all non-essential lights and electrical appliances for an hour from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm on Saturday. This is part of the global Earth Hour initiative.

Through “India Unplugged”, Earth Hour 2015, not only calls out to people to switch off lights, but also encourages them to explore and adopt a cleaner and more sustainable lifestyle by embracing renewable energy solutions.

Like last year, monuments such as Gateway of India, India Gate, the Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus railway station, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial and Indian Museum, Kolkata, will switch of their lights during Earth Hour.

This year's campaign saw endorsements from celebrities from across the country. Apart from National brand ambassador actor Arjun Kapoor, tennis star SaniaMirza, southern actress Priya Mani, Bengali actress June Maliah and Tamil actor Bharath have joined the initiative.

“Earth Hour was initiated by WWF to fight the acute threat that climate change poses. The campaign is truly a vehicle of change and has grown to garner the support of millions across the globe,” says Kapoor.

Echoing Kapoor’s sentiments, Maliah says, “It’s all to do with our planet and conserving energy. I have been following and supporting this initiative for a long time. Moreover, it’s all the more meaningful because they are trying to raise funds for a solar energy grid in the Sunderbans, where many pockets are without power.”

Not only celebrities but the corporate and hospitality industry, too, have joined the Earth Hour initiative — launched in Australia in 2007 —in a big way.

Big names like eBay India, Genpact India, Groupon India, Vodafone India Limited, Tata Consultancy Services and various other corporate houses are supporting the campaign, which spans more than 150 cities in the country.

“The Earth Hour is a cause that connects with millions of people across the globe, and is really one of the easiest causes to pledge your support to. While it begins with switching off your lights for one hour, the overall and long-term aim is to instill a sense of consciousness and responsibility when it comes to conserving the earth’s resources. Supporting and associating with such causes truly enables us to give back to society,” says Ankur Warikoo, head – APAC Emerging Markets, Groupon.

“Apart from pledging our support to The Earth Hour, we have launched a deal in association with WWF-India to support their Sahasra Jyoti campaign and help light up a 1,000 homes in the Sunderbans. People
can purchase the Earth Hour T-shirt or the Sahasra Jyoti Magic Mug on Groupon. All proceeds will go towards the Sahasra Jyoti campaign,” adds Warikoo.

To make sure that the whole of India is covered, cyclothons are being held in Hyderabad, Guwahati and Trivandrum. Other events like green fairs and exhibitions of solar energy applications are being organized in Guwahati, Shimla and Kolkata. Street plays, signature campaigns, candle marches and music concerts are also being held across the country in Mumbai, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Shimla, Trivandrum, Kochi, Amritsar, Jaipur and other places. Various hotels in Amritsar like the Hyatt, Radisson Blue, Country Inn etc. will also host candlelight dinners for Earth Hour.

Rituparna Sengupta from WWF, says that the idea this time is to go beyond that one hour. “We are calling the campaign ‘60+ Earth Hour’ this time because we want people to not limit themselves to 60 minutes in their effort of saving the planet,” she says.

As an individual, you too can observe the event at home. “It not only saves energy but is also a good option to have a candle light dinner with your family, without the TV interrupting,” says Swati Mazumdar, a Kolkata-based homemaker.

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