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Going dark to see the light

Switch off the lights to switch on your life. Earth Hour gives you power. On March 26, may darkness be the future light.

mumbai Updated: Mar 26, 2011 01:02 IST
Snehal Rebello

Switch off the lights to switch on your life. Earth Hour gives you power. On March 26, may darkness be the future light.

In the run-up to Earth Hour on March 26, students, teachers and staff at Goregaon’s Vibgyor High School have been sporting badges with these slogans every day as part of the ‘60+Earth Hour’ campaign.

“Children will be the leaders and policy makers of tomorrow. They need to be told that if we harm the environment, nature’s fury will get back to us,” said Savita Kukreti, head coordinator of the school’s secondary section. “Since children are innocent, no one can be as effective while spreading the message of saving the environment.”

Even though the school will remain closed on Saturday, it will be family time for student Anubhav Sharma, 13, who will be among a large number of individuals, institutions, corporate houses and residential buildings turning off lights between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm on Saturday.

“We will have a candlelight dinner and play games,” said Sharma who lives with a 10-member joint family. “On regular days, we are all preoccupied, but Earth Hour allows us to be together and have fun.”

In its third year, Earth Hour, organised by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, involves switching off non-essential lights and electrical appliances for an hour. In 2010, over six million people across India participated in the
campaign.

“In the last two years, Mumbai has conserved around 100 MW,” said Goldin Quadros , interim director, WWF-Maharashtra. “Nationally, the energy saved in 2009 was 1,150 MW and 900 MW in 2010.”

The mood for Earth Hour is upbeat in about 18 housing societies and companies at Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, that are vying for a crystal trophy in a competition organised by the Powai-based Young Environmentalists Programme Trust.

“Three buildings with maximum lights off will win the trophy,” said Elsie Gabriel, founder of the trust. “For the last few days, residential buildings and corporations have been preparing a list of electrical equipment, lights, estimated units of electricity saved and their cost.”

At the designated hour, Powai resident Manoj Wanvari (40) and his neighbours will step down with their families and spend time at the Hiranandani Heritage Garden.

“Instead of observing this day just once a year, it should be done every three months. Why only switch off electricity? In fact, there should be one day in a year when there should be no cars on the road,” said Wanvari.