By Sanika Natu:
When we step out of our urban homes on the streets of Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai or for that matter any metropolitan hub of India, all we can see is bustling crowd, widely lit streets and shininess. We spend crores on the glitz and gloss to portray urbanity. From streets to malls or even a local vegetable market, everything that we see seems to glitter. Apart from the immense illumination that strikes us, the number of switches that we turn on is innumerable. The gizmos and gadgets that we use to make our lives better somewhere seem to have adverse effect on us. Climate change is an infamous global phenomenon that has taken its toll on planet earth.
As a measure to combat such callous consequences of climate change, the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) initiated the concept of ‘Earth Hour’ in March 2007. It started in Sydney, Australia when about 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 business houses took a stand against climate change by turning their lights off. Soon it turned into a global movement when landmarks like Rome’s Colosseum and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge stood in darkness. With about 35 countries participating in the following year, the movement depicted comprehensive awareness for a cause that grows urgent by the hour. People have stood up to show concern for their solitary home planet. If they don’t stand up for their planet now, they would have nowhere to go. It is a bitter truth that people have eventually realized. Ever since its inauguration in 2007, Earth Hour is scheduled on last Saturday of the month of March. This year, it is being observed on March 26, 2011 across all major cities of the world including those of India. This time around, the idea of ‘going beyond an hour’ has been propagated, which invites people to switch off lights as far as possible, more than an hour.
In spite of its immense popularity and massive affirmation, some cynics believe that a movement such as the Earth Hour would lead to an increase in the carbon emissions. People are likely to light up candles which would increase carbon levels in the atmosphere. Though switching off lights would reduce the power consumption of a large area by a substantial margin, critics haven’t found it worth a go and carbon levels have been their prime concern. Apart from this, Earth Hour has also been viewed as an act of regression. Humankind is supposed to strive further and not head back in time when there wasn’t enough electric power to illuminate us. Some people have also believed that it is vital to make optimum usage of solar energy to run our daily machines instead of resorting to other depleting resources of energy.
Critics may find Earth Hour to be debatable, but I am sure this is the least that we could do to show our support to save Earth. People probably can also look at the amusing side of such a movement. Where on earth would you get a time and place with no lights at all? Surely not in a metropolitan of the 21st Century! All time glittering streets, highways and other architectural structures when turned pitch dark, would be quite a sight to watch. If not in this hour, when are you going to experience the pleasure of unrestrainedly gazing at the stars and dipping in the moonlight? So for one reason or another we need to step up and do our bit for the environment. It’s time to enlighten people to turn off lights and spread alertness regarding the future of our planet. It’s time to switch off lights and switch on Earth!