Saturday, May 1, 2010

Solidarity in darkness

Dark hour lights up hopes 

The Gulf Today, 28 March 2010
Pic by Prashanth Mukunthan

Thousands of UAE residents and above 150 organisations from across the seven emirates on Saturday became part of the greatest civil action that the world has ever witnessed - Earth Hour 2010.
Burj Khalifa, the tallest manmade structure in the world, temporarily went dark between 8.30pm to 9.30pm, in addition to hundreds of landmarks and residential premises across the UAE turned out the lights for the largest call in history for action on climate change.
A number of iconic UAE landmarks including Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre, remained dimmed during the hour which turned out to be the largest call in history for action on climate change.
The resting place of the UAE's founding father, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque in Abu Dhabi, in addition to hundreds of mosques from across the country joined the cause switching off lights and other power consuming equipment for an hour.
"All the lights at the Burj Khalifa were switched off, but the world's largest building was seen shining with the backdrop of moonlight's reflection, the natural light," according to an enthusiast who rushed to the site to watch the charm.
"But, unfortunately the wonder of the world was seen without much crowd," he added.
And hundreds of mosques across the seven emirates joined other historic UAE landmarks.
Dozens of events and gathering also took place in all the seven emirates to spread the message for the climate action. Many residents turned off all unnecessary electric equipment including air conditioners to mark the occasion.
Nick and Jane Hinde witnessed the Burj Al Arab went in total darkness in front of their villa in Jumeirah, as he tweeted within minutes the Earth Hour began in the UAE.
"Earth Hour 2010 just started! Turn off the lights," teacher and author Mariam Masood tweeted at around 8.45pm.
"There were no more lights here," according to Hawyia as she joined with many the Earth Hour activity participants. They were counting down to switch off the lights in their homes.
Kris G De Leon couldn't wait participate the Earth Hour activities in UAE, and requested to join the cause.
Tripti Sachdev drove up to Jumeirah beach road to join the lantern march organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS-WWF), the advocate of Earth Hour in the UAE, said the Earth Hour has demonstrated that small actions on a mass scale can make a huge difference to reductions in energy consumption.
"The EWS-WWF aimed to send a clear message on the significance of reducing the energy consumption beyond the 60 minutes of the Earth Hour," he added.
"Observation of the cause turned out to be an excellent example of how the private sector, the government, educators and communities could work together with to strengthen and advance the awareness of our country on environmental issues," he pointed out.
The line-up of the UAE landmarks observing the global climate cause included, Burj Al Arab, Emaar Properties' The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina and Emirates Living, the Emirates Palace, Raffles Hotel, ADIA Building, Grosvenor House, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Hotel, Aldar Head Quarters, Enpark, Fairmont Dubai, Schneider Electric FZE, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa Dubai, Kraft Foods, Masdar, Khidmah, Trane Middle East, Dubai Aluminum, Sharjah Mega Mall, Coca Cola Middle East, Tecom, Media One Hotel, Dubai World Trade Centre, the Yas Hotel and Yas Marina Circuit, Sas Radisson Hotel Blue and many other places.
Government entities such as Dubai Municipality, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Abu Dhabi Transport Authority, Dubai Police, Sharjah Aquarium, Sharjah Science Museum, Dubai Holding, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority also turned off all non-essential lights to mark the initiative.
The performance of The Dubai Fountain, the world's tallest performing fountain, resumed after 9.30pm only.

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