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March 25, 2011

Earth Hour 2011: How will you be spending it?

Table Mountain

Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain during Earth Hour last year. Photo courtesy coda

On Saturday, March 26, people all over the world will switch off their lights and other electrical appliances in solidarity with Earth Hour. The initiative, organised by the WWF, is aimed at raising awareness around climate change, as well as conserving energy on a global scale. What will you be doing in the dark at 20h30?

Earth Hour is of particular significance to Cape Town, a city that places great emphasis on sustainability and responsible tourism. Last year, Table Mountain was plunged into darkness, a dramatic symbol of the Mother City’s dedication to the Earth Hour initiative. Below is the official promotional video for Earth Hour 2011, which includes footage of how this moment was celebrated in different parts of the globe in 2010.


Last year, Cape Town’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu also joined the ranks of celebrities such as supermodel Gisele Bündchen and Mayor of London Boris Johnson to become an ambassador for Earth Hour.

“We are delighted by the enthusiasm of people around the world, and in South Africa in particular, for Earth Hour,” says Media Relations Manager for the WWF in South Africa Carolyn Cramer. “Every year we see more and more people coming together to support this cause.

“The archbishop is particularly passionate about it, because he recognises that climate change is really a social justice issue. His support adds real weight and credibility to Earth Hour and we are grateful for his ongoing commitment towards a better world.”

Cape Town Tourism recently asked our Facebook fans what they had planned for Earth Hour. So far there have been a number of responses, including ideas for picnics by candlelight and spending quality time with loved ones. Alice Johnson replied, saying she would be “candlelight carbo-loading” for her half-marathon the next day, while Colleen Gomes said she’d be turning off all her lights and “having green dreams of a healthier happier world!” Visit the Facebook fan page to share your plans and get a few new ideas.

The first Earth Hour took place in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. The event has since grown spectacularly, and in March last year an impressive 128 countries and territories took part. Earth Hour now reaches an estimated 1.3-billion people across the globe, and the emphasis this year is on going “beyond the hour”: How are you going to conserve energy, protect the environment and continue to spread the word about climate change behind 21h30 on Saturday night?

Whether you’re a visitor or a local, make sure you know how to travel responsibly in the city. Consult Cape Town Tourism’s database of tour operators for details of who specialises in socially responsible travel.

For more information, visit the official Earth Hour website. Here you can sign up to receive updates about the event.

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