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PARAMARIBO–A thick blanket of darkness enveloped Paramaribo Saturday night from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, as Suriname observed Earth Hour. In solidarity with the world’s inhabitants who live without electricity, Suriname citizens made do. Hundreds congregated at the Independence Square, where the lights of the Presidential Palace, the statues, the flags and surrounding buildings were turned off.
“There must have been close to 1,000 people there, which is about 10 times the number of last year,” said World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Guianas spokesperson Karin Spong. “It was a fully loaded hour, with singing, dancing, candles and around 50 torch bearers.”
Some people had brought candles along; some brought snacks and turned Earth Hour 2012 into a fun picnic. Performers entertained the crowd with unplugged music. Wilgo Baarn directed the popular ala kondre dron, which, featuring the drums of all Suriname’s ethnic groups, speaks of the country’s racial harmony. Most impressive were the Maroon performers, who danced around a fire and finally extinguished it with their bare feet. The event was closed off with the release of hot air balloons.
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative organized by WWF and Leo Burnett. Worldwide individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. The world largest volunteer’s event began in one city in 2007 and by 2011 reached over 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across every continent, receiving reports as ‘the World’s largest campaign for the planet’.
This year the global community has come out in force for Earth Hour as social media has energized and inspired communities across the Middle East, Africa and Europe to unite for a common cause – the protection of the planet. Earth Hour 2012 took place in a record 150 countries and territories across 6494 towns and cities. From former war-torn countries to great cities of Europe, Earth Hour was celebrated by all walks of life as it offers an hour of inspiration to change our future to one that is sustainable.
Preliminary results say that Sydney, Australia, the first city to observe Earth Hour, conserved 10 percent energy during the hour that electricity was turned off this year. Spong expects Suriname’s figures to be released later this week; last year Suriname used 4 percent less energy, and, as more people took part this year, expectations are high.
Spong said the event didn’t end Saturday evening. Over the next two weeks 3,000 primary school children will measure their electricity consumption with their families and teachers, in a bid to highlight the importance of preservation to children.
PARAMARIBO—Independence Square will be wrapped in darkness for an hour from 8.30pm Saturday evening, but alive with unplugged performances as Suriname observes Earth Hour 2012.
Following encouraging results last year, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Suriname is again organizing Suriname’s observance of the global stand against climate change, the world’s largest volunteers’ event. The entire country is being urged through TV advertising and billboards to turn off the lights for one hour, in support of the earth and in solidarity with the 20 percent of the world’s inhabitants who do not have electricity.
“Last year Suriname used 4 percent less electricity than usual during the earth hour,” WWF says in a press release. The organization commended President’s Bouterse’s support who during Earth Hour 2011 took the lead and had the lights turned off at the Presidential Palace. “This year we will be at the Independence Square again, where we will entertain the public for a whole hour with interactive acts,” the press release states. It says there will be fire eating, singing, drumming and dance performances, all unplugged, without amplifiers.
Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour. More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.
Earth Hour is organised worldwide by the WWF. With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries/territories, it’s one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Earth Hour is a global call to action to every individual, business, school and community to take a stand against climate change.
PARAMARIBO–“If Australia saved two percent energy the first time they took part in Earth Hour, our four percent is great!,” Karin Spong, spokesperson for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas reacted last weekend when asked what she thought of Suriname’s response to the worldwide initiative.
Electricity Company EBS measured that during Earth Hour on Saturday March 26, Suriname used 6.000 KWh less. Each of the 125,000 households in the country apparently turned off at least one light bulb, as 6,000 KWH translates into 150,000 lightbulbs switched on. The country on average uses 141.000KWh from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, but when Suriname voluntarily turned off the lights, EBS was able to literally save 4 percent energy and turn off the switch on one of its generators at the plant at Saramacca Street, which resulted in less fuel usage.
“That was incredible news. I did not expect it to be that high. Truth be told: I had expected more resistance to the initiative from people who think that this is a “first world problem”. These results show that Suriname underscores that it understands that climate change is our problem too, but that we can play a part in the efforts to stem it. That we are not helpless,” she said.
She said WWF is encouraged to continue its efforts. “We will go on pointing out what you safe when you turn off the lights,” she said, hinting at the tour that took promo-teams to primary schools to demonstrate with a bicycle dynamo how much energy is needed to get a lightbulb burning. “Our intention is to stress the relationship between switching off a light and saving the eart; literally: if you turn off a lightbulb, you give the earth some rest,” she said.
She hopes that by next year when Earth Hour comes around more local NGO’s, Government Ministries and business are better aware of how important turning off unnecessary lights is. “The message is that companies should not consume more than they need. All the public announcements about turning off lights when you walk out a room and turning off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, may sound like clichés, but they are nonetheless important to take heed of. We want to preserve this earth,” she said. “It’s worrisome how much the world consumes, just because we can. Honestly, if every person on this earth would consume as much as the average American does, we would need 4,5 earths to maintain that need. Isn’t that something to be worried about?”
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating.
If Australia’s Sydney may serve as an indicator for Earth Hour Suriname growth possibilities, the initiative is set for progress. Whereas Sydney clocked 2 percent savings in 2005, in 2011 more than 2 million Sydney residents joined Earth Hour by flicking the switch, turning appliances off stand-by and enjoying an hour of quiet darkness, according to poll results. Residents and businesses across the city showed their support for Earth Hour resulting in an impressive 10.2% drop in energy usage across the usually glittering CBD, according to Energy Australia. This is double the anticipated energy saving and represents a reduction of 24.86 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for an hour.
PARAMARIBO–Local electricity company EBS has measured that during Earth Hour on Saturday March 26, Suriname used 6.000 KWh less. Each of the 125,000 households in the country apparently turned off at least one light bulb, as 6,000 KWH translates into 150,000 lightbulbs switched on. Event organisers are elated.
The country on average uses 141.000KWh from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, but when Suriname voluntarily turned off the lights, EBS was able to literally save 4 percent energy and turn off the switch on one of its generators at the plant at Saramacca Street, which resulted in less fuel usage.
In comparison, when Sydney, Australia took part in the first Earth Hour in 2005, the city clocked two percent in energy savings that night.
Odette Miranda of media company Chetskeys hired by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to roll out the first Earth Hour initiative in Suriname, was excited to hear the results. “This shows that Suriname does care about the earth. We have shown that if we could make it a habit to turn on less lights, we contribute to worldwide energy savings. We should take Earth Hour beyond the Hour alone,” she said.
The annual Earth Hour global event is hosted by WWF to encourage individuals to fight against climate change by turning off their lights for 1 hour around the world during the event each year. In 2009 an estimated 10 million people worldwide turned off their lights during the hour; Chicago, for instance, saved 818 megawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to nearly 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or taking two 400-megawatt coal plants offline for one hour.
PARAMARIBO–The stately Presidential Palace at the Independence Square –usually beautifully lit up at night-, stood in darkness Saturday night, as an unmistakable sign that Suriname cares about the earth. Several other landmarks, hotels, bars and private homes turned off their lights –some partially- from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, in support of Earth Hour. “The Palace is beautiful at night too,” commented media producer Odette Miranda of Chetskeys, the company hired by environment charity WWF to roll-out the worldwide initiative in Suriname Hour.
Miranda was among approximately 150 people who were at the Independence Square to witness the lights of the palace go off. “It was a beautiful atmosphere, people together in care of the earth. Many of them were not even in our network; they were there voluntarily,” she said.
She had gotten reports that several companies had heeded the call to turn off their lights for an hour. “Mac Donalds did, ‘T Vat bar/restaurant did. And at Marriot Hotel, during the concert of pianist Serial Karamat-ali, some lights were turned off as well,” said Miranda. There were even reports of organizations holding their regular meetings at candle light; at private homes residents grabbed the opportunity to make it a ‘romantic candle lit night.’
“I think we may be happy with the response, especially considering that this is the first time for Suriname,” said Miranda.
Lights went off around the world on Saturday in a show of support for renewable energy, given added poignancy by Japan’s nuclear disaster, which raises doubts about nuclear power as a possible solution. Landmarks in thousands of cities, from Sydney Harbour Bridge to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, turned off the power. It’s the fifth time WWF organizes Earth Hour, promoting a sustainable future for the planet.
PARAMARIBO–With two days to go before Suriname turns off its lights in support of Earth Hour, Odette Miranda of Chetskeys –the media production company hired to promote the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) global initiative in Suriname- was excited. “I was excited from when we got this account, but now the climax is really drawing near,” she said on Thursday. She looked forward to driving around on Saturday night, to witness firsthand how many people are really willing to be in darkness for the earth, for a whole hour starting 8.30pm.
It is the first time Suriname rolls out Earth Hour, an initiative WWF started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.
Miranda said it would be great if Suriname’s Government turned off the spotlights that shine on the Presidential Palace at night, during Earth Hour. “But even greater would be if people would start being more aware of the unnecessary waste of energy and turn off lights, use less water in the house and observe other measures that will help preserve our planet,” she said. She said she was in talks with electricity company EBS, to gauge how much power is saved during the Earth Hour Saturday. “It would be nice if we can find that out,” the vibrant advertising executive said.
Since Suriname launched the initiative with the unveiling of a billboard earlier this month, it has gotten much support from the authorities. Environment Minister Ginmardo Kromosoeto has said that his house will be in darkness Saturday night and President Desi Bouterse will likely also make a similar statement that will be broadcast on Friday and Saturday night. “That is so exciting!; that the highest authority of the country comes out in support of this laudable global initiative will help to show the people of the country how important this is,” said Miranda.
She said she noticed that people lack awareness on the subject of preserving the environmental. “Some people have trouble grasping the concept of Earth Hour, which is why the President’s support is so important,” she said, adding: “at least all children that our Promo Teams make presentations to when they visit the schools as part of this initiative, as excited.”
This, she said, creates hope that Earth Hour Suriname would grow to be a phenomenon in its own right. All avenues are used to spread the word; Earth Hour Suriname already has its own Facebook page. “We got big plans for the future. We’re thinking of turning this into a manifestation, during which people get together in the dark of the Earth Hour. But first let’s see if everyone in Suriname turns off their lights … including the people who are in charge of the Presidential Palace.”
PARAMARIBO–Suriname is turning off the lights for an hour on March 26, in solidarity with worldwide concerns regarding the future of the planet. “Our planet is in danger; we’re using too much energy, and it’s evident in climate change,” Dominiiek Plouvier of World Wildlife Fund *(WWF) Guianas told journalists in Wednesday at the launch of Suriname’s leg of Earth Hour, a WWF event that takes place annually all over the world since 2007. It’s the first time Suriname takes part.
To encourage Surinamers to turn off their lights on March 26 at 9.30pm, WWF has erected a billboard at Henck Arron Street. The billboard is also meant to make people more aware of wastefulness, said Plouvier. He stressed that it is important that people be more considerate toward the environment; people still use too much water and energy and still continue to discard plastic bottles carelessly. Forests have to make way for housing projects. “We need to be aware of what we’re doing to our planet,” the WWW official said.
Media production company Chetskeys was contracted to roll out the Suriname initiative; besides producing the billboard, the company also produced a telecision infomercial that is played on local television stations. WWF officials will furthermore as of Friday visit schools throughout the country to make students more aware of the importance of Earth Hour.