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Greenpeace crusaders change light bulbs

They began changing the bulbs in the hotel?s lobby until they were stopped by the security, reports Jyoti Shelar.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2006 23:09 IST

Saving energy pirate style. That was the mantra of the campaigners from Greenpeace who took their ‘Switch to Mumbai’ message at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba and replaced the light bulbs in the chandeliers with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) on Thursday, creating momentary chaos.

Calling themselves Greenpeace pirates, they began changing the bulbs in the hotel’s lobby until they were stopped by the security, and the matter heated up.

“The Taj has more than 3500 incandescent bulbs that burn day and night. If the hotel switches to CFL’s, it would avoid burning of 400 tonnes of coal and help reduce 1500 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually”, said Soumyabrata Rahut, Energy Campaigner, Greepeace India adding that Carbon Dioxide is the chief contributor of climate change.

"Climate change is the biggest threat facing the planet and we must
take urgent measures to prevent severe damage to a coastal city like
Mumbai. Switching to CFL’s is one of the easiest thing one can do”, said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director, Greenpeace India.

However, the environmental reasons failed to pacify the hotel’s staff who called for security guards and the managers. “Is this a way to spread awareness about your campaign? How can you enter anybody’s house or office and start replacing the bulbs?” asked Birgit Zorniger, Deputy General Manager of the hotel. As Ananthapadmanabhan tried to clarify and asked the hotel to be switched to CFL’s, “We cannot take decision this fast”, said Zorniger adding explain the change in ambience due to different lights.

Dressed as typical pirates, these campaigners have been promoting their ‘Switch to Mumbai’ campaign, which essentially aims at spreading awareness about the climate change that we are heading towards. To start with, switching on to CFL’s is on their agenda.

The Pirates have been doing this across Mumbai to switch bulbs with CFLs and spread the message of improving energy efficiency as a key strategy to combat climate change. “There are simple ways in which we can save the city. Nobody would allow us to this by taking prior permissions. We have to take this risk”, said Vinoda Gopal, a Pirate.

How did the idea of ‘Pirates’ come up? "Mumbai is a Bollywood city. So we had to do something crazy to strike out. Thus we thought of the Pirates to challenge the city in a theatrical and novel manner," said Rahut.

As a demonstration of Mumbai's support for the campaign, the Greenpeace campaigners along with several Mumbaikars will gather at Juhu Beach on Sunday morning to make a human art formation of the word a "switch".

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First Published: Nov 30, 2006 23:09 IST