In pictures: Earth Hour in the UAE

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Updated : 24.03.2013

Major landmarks including Zayed Grand Mosque and Burj Khalifa go dark for an hour in the event

of Earth Hour Day observed Yesterday.

Dubai : 23.03.2013

Iconic landmarks around the world will cut their lights tonight ‘Earth Hour’ campaign against climate change.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will ensure its many iconic structures will go dark to save the planet tonight at 8.30pm.

Emaar is joining hands with the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the organisers of the event in Dubai, in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Emirates Wildlife Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature, to mark Earth Hour this year.

A highlight of the event is the ‘Earth Hour Walk’ which will start at Burj Plaza in Downtown Dubai, Emaar’s flagship mega-development that overlooks Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

The organisers of Earth Hour and representatives of government and private sector entities will take part in the annual walk to be held from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

The iconic assets of Emaar including Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar, Gold & Diamond Park and The Address Hotels + Resorts, as well as residents in various lifestyle communities by the company will observe Earth Hour by switching off all non-essential external and internal lighting and appliances.

Only lighting that is essential for security and safety will be maintained during Earth Hour.

The performance of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain, will only re-commence after Earth Hour on March 23, while the lighting on The Burj Steps and the Waterfront Promenade will also be dimmed.

Within The Dubai Mall, all non-essential lighting of Reel Cinemas, KidZania®, SEGA Republic, and Dubai Ice Rink will be switched off, while the lights within the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo will be dimmed.

Reem Al Thawadi, Earth Hour Project Manager at Emirates Wildlife Society, which works in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF), confirmed the landmarks that have confirmed support for the cause include the Hilton, Fairmont and Raffles Hotels in Dubai, along with the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Etihad Towers, amongst others in the capital.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ six shopping malls across the UAE have also stepped up to go dark.

The group has confirmed that for the set 60 minutes, all non-essential lights such as external signage, building facade, external landscaping and office lights will be turned off at Ajman City Centre, Deira City Centre, Fujairah City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre and Sharjah City Centre.

In addition, car parks will have lights dimmed to 30-33 per cent or pole lights will be lit, if lights are off for safety reasons.

Public interior lights of the mall will also stay on for the security of mall visitors.

Dubai Municipality has also confirmed the lights to most of its buildings will also be dimmed.

Also, Ski Dubai has confirmed it will turn off the lights and illuminate the venue with candle torches lining the ski slope to create the illusion of a candle descent, culminating into a faux camp fire at the bottom of the slope.

Numerous Ski Dubai instructors will also be fitted out in glow-in-the-dark uniforms customised for the occasion.

Take the challenge

This is the second year the UAE will participate in the ‘I Will If You Will’ pledge, whereby individuals will fulfil challenges if others pledge their commitment to the environment.

Last year, concerned resident Reem pledged she would cycle around in a public park wearing a panda suit, if 300 people in the UAE upload their own challenges, while resident Joe Akkawi pledged that if 300 people stop printing emails, he owuld shave his hair in the shape of planet earth.

“The ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign is a brilliant platform to challenge friends, family and colleagues to go beyond the hour by pledging to an environmental commitment. World leaders, celebrities and individuals took part around the globe last year,” said Al Thawadi.

Prominent members of the UAE community such as Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, RJ Kris Fade and Ali Al Saloom also participated by submitting their challenges and inspiring others to adopt greener practices during 2012.

Ali Al Saloom has renewed his pledge for this Earth Hour 2013, as well, said Ak Thawadi, which stated that he would give up all three mobile phones if 10,000 people give up using plastic bags and use eco-friendly bags instead.

Beyond the hour

EWS-WWF reps say there are a number of ways people can go beyond the hour by adopting a more sustainable lifestyle by reducing energy consumption and water consumption:

– Try leaving your car at home a few times a week and hop on the Metro, bus, walk or use your bicycle

– Get a reusable water bottle and pledge to stop using disposable plastic bottles

– Replace a meaty meal or two each week with a vegetarian option and you will help lower carbon emissions

– Look for sustainable fish options and contribute to healthier oceans. If you are in the UAE, you can use the Choose Wisely consumer fish guide ( to help you select more sustainable options

– Replace your regular bulbs with energy saving light bulbs. They are much more efficient and last up to 10 times longer

– Set your air conditioning to 2-3 degrees higher than you normally do. You’ll hardly notice the difference, but it will make a difference to your energy use

– Use a bucket not a hose when washing your car. You will save up to 180 litres of water per wash

– When brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing vegetables or dishes, remember to switch the tap off. You will save up to 34 litres each time

– Go native and choose local plants, as they need less water and do better in the UAE climate.

The World goes dark

Organisers expect hundreds of millions of people across the globe to turn off their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday night — at 8:30pm local time — in a symbolic show of support for the planet.

Many of the world’s most iconic attractions, including Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower will take part.

“What started as an event in Sydney in 2007 with two million people has now become a tradition across the country and across the world,” Dermot O’Gorman, head of WWF-Australia, said.

“It’s now an organic, people-powered movement… which is fantastic.”

Last year more than 150 countries participated in the event which saw some of the world’s most iconic landmarks dim, and this year the movement has spread to Palestine, Tunisia, Suriname and Rwanda.

Newcomers to be plunged into darkness include Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid, the statue of David in Florence and Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

In Australia, where Earth Hour originated with an appeal to people and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about carbon pollution, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge will be among the first sites to participate globally.

This year Earth Hour Australia is asking participants to “switch off for good” and move to renewable energy. As part of the push Sydney Opera House won’t go dark at 8:30 pm (0930 GMT) but will instead glow a deep green.

With restaurant diners eating by candlelight, Outback communities going dark and iconic buildings standing in shadows, O’Gorman believes Earth Hour has played a part in drawing attention to energy use.

“We’ve always heard anecdotally that it has made people change their actions and look at their impact on the planet in a more considered way,” he said.

“Earth Hour has always been about empowering people to realise that everybody has the power to change the world in which they live, and thousands of people switching to renewable energy is a perfect example.”

Sydney’s lights out will be followed by countries across the globe, with the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, and the Burj Khalifa all participating.

In China, Shanghai’s famous Bund will turn off its lights while in the central city of Wuhan, the Yangtze River bridge will be plunged into darkness.

In Japan, daily illuminations of the city’s signature Tokyo Tower will be switched off, with visitors able to pedal bicycles to generate power to illuminate an egg-shaped art work.

In Japan’s northeast local residents are set to light candles to both show support for the campaign and mourn victims of the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster, organisers said.

In Singapore, the affluent city-state’s skyline will darken for one hour from 8:30pm (1230 GMT) as more than 100 buildings take part, while Hong Kong’s famous skyline will also dim..

Earth Hour will also see famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, London’s Buckingham Palace, the Empire State Building in New York and Niagara Falls take part.


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