If you fail to switch off the lights in your home when Mumbai observes Earth Hour between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm on Saturday, don't be surprised to find some very irate children knocking on your door.
The organisers of Earth Hour — a global event that the World Wide Fund (WWF) kicked off from Sydney in 2007, asking citizens and corporations to switch off lights for an hour on the last Saturday of March every year to conserve energy — have recruited children and homemakers to create awareness about the event.
"Kids are gifted, they can convince even the most ignorant," said Vivian Chaudhary, a 63-year-old homemaker from Powai who has signed up as a volunteer.
Hundreds of homemakers like Chaudhary are part of the Youth Environmental Programme (YEP), one of several citizens' initiatives across the world that aim to save power.
"We have approached homemakers because they control electricity usage in every family. We have also convinced secretaries of 50 housing complexes in Powai to join the campaign," said Elsie Gabriel, founder of YEP.
In Dahisar, residents of 20 buildings have confirmed their participation.
Overall, the campaign has grown stronger compared to last year. Several corporate houses are supporting the cause — 75 this year, compared to 50 last year.
"Awareness about the cause has increased immensely," said Aarti Khosla, communications and campaign manager, WWF.
Large companies such as Air India, HSBC and ICICI Bank, whose offices consume huge amounts of power, will also turn their lights off. "We recognise and contribute to the need to conserve national resources and explore clean technology," said Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank.
For the second consecutive year the bank will switch off lights across 1,675 branches and 4,883 ATMs.
Hotels are doing their bit too. All Taj Hotels, for instance, will serve candlelight dinners and the Renaissance Hotel along with the Marriott Executive Apartments will switch off all their lights.
It's not Mumbai alone, other cities, towns and municipalities across the world will also turn off their lights for an hour on Saturday. New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Gangtok are among those taking part. Last year, New Delhi saved 600 megawatts of energy in one hour. Mumbai is expected to save even more.
"Earth Hour 2010 aims to send a message to world leaders that we, the citizens of the planet, demand commitment to actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Khosla.