24 Mar

Earth Hour – the final countdown

With just one day to go, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa is gearing up for the most exciting Earth Hour to date. It’s happening this Saturday (25 March) from 8:30 – 9:30pm local time, around the world.

This year, WWF has called on South Africans to tell Eskom – through an online petition – to lead South Africa into a greener, more equitable energy future which will help the country to create new, cleaner jobs and meet its international obligations to the global Paris agreement on climate change.

The global agreement is aimed at urgently limiting the most damaging aspects of climate change.

Since August 2016, Eskom has refused to sign any further independent power producer contracts within the country’s Renewable Energy Programme. These contracts would put more renewable energy quickly, and cost effectively, onto the national grid.

Instead, the utility continues to pursue an electricity programme mix that relies heavily on coal which is both expensive and also responsible for the majority of South Africa’s carbon emissions. Eskom is also actively promoting unaffordably-expensive and environmentally-questionable new nuclear builds.

Like most countries in the world, South Africa needs to bring more renewable energy into the country’s electricity mix which is why WWF is leading the call to urge citizens to say yes to renewable energy.

No less than 10 000 South Africans have supported WWF’s petition to Eskom so far, and the organisation anticipates many more sign ups, and encourages broad sharing of this important petition, in the lead up to the night of Earth Hour. Go to wwf.org.za/earthhour

In addition to signing the petition, South Africans can support Earth Hour during the hour by observing the 60 minute switch off of lights and electrical appliances or attending one of many events on the night.

In the Western Cape, WWF together with Wildrunner will host an Earth Hour adventure dash at Kirstenbosch starting at 6pm. Participants will get to explore the botanical garden by torchlight, while navigating their way to the hidden WWF check points dotted across a 5km course. The event is open to participants of all ages.

Those wishing to take part in this orienteering-style activation will need to be equipped with headlamps and a keen sense of night-time navigation. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and a picnic basket to comfortably enjoy the sensational voice of singer Myrthe Buijs as she ushers in Earth Hour. To purchase entries, visit quicket.co.za

Also in Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront will host an Earth Hour event at the Amphitheatre with Sunshine Cinema – a mobile solar-powered cinematic experience. The Earth Hour evening, starting at 8:15pm, will be MCed by South Africa’s funny man Rob Van Vuuren and KFM and Expresso presenter Zoe Brown. Bongeziwe Mbandla of Black Major will provide live music while experts in the renewable energy sector will be on hand to share information.

In Gauteng, the College of Digital Photography in both Saxonwold Pretoria will be painting with light!

Everyone is welcome to what promises to be a colourful and spectacular display. Entrance is free, but a donation in the form of pet food, a blanket or something warm for the animals will be welcomed. Proceeds will go to Barking Mad/ DogTown SA – a rehabilitation centre for animals. RSVP to photo@codp.co.za.

For the adventurous, Gauteng’s first Earth Hour trail run/walk will take place at Danielsrust Game Farm between 8:30 and 9:30pm. Running or walking with a flashlight or headlamp is compulsory for all participants. Gates open at 4pm, so guests will have ample time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings while having a picnic with family and friends. There will be food stalls and refreshments, a live band and exhibition stalls.

After the night of Earth Hour, we can all go beyond the hour through our daily choices and decisions to conserve natural resources and spread awareness about opportunities for collective action.

Sign the petition now to say yes to renewables!


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