Call to switch off to support Earth Hour
Greater use of renewable energy is a “big ticket” wish for an environmental campaign group, its chairman said today.
Eugene Dean was speaking as he urged residents across the island to switch off their lights at 8.30pm on Saturday to mark this year’s Earth Hour.
Mr Dean explained that the event was marked by millions of people all over the world to “inspire action and encourage us to show our support for the environment and for our planet”.
He added: “Really it’s the Earth that sustains us, so this campaign around Earth Hour is really in support of our future and our sustenance on the planet.
“Although Earth Hour in many regards – the turning off the lights for one hour – is a show of solidarity for people around the world, it’s really more than that.
“It’s also a catalyst for positive change.
“It’s a mobilising initiative that is meant to inspire people to act all throughout the year, to encourage legislative change that helps us to address the issues that we are all aware of as it relates to our one home.”
The campaigner said: “The big ticket item for us right now is really this transition to renewable energy.
“There has been a lot of conversation around it, we would like to see more action.
“We’re involved at a level where we’re doing things to try to push that agenda along because a lot of the environmental challenges that we’re facing now, as it relates to emissions and pollution and the side effects that come from that – the only way we’re going to address that is by dealing with switching to renewable energy.”
Mr Dean said that the Earth Hour Council included representatives from the corporations of Hamilton and St George, the Chamber of Commerce, Wedco and Belco.
He added: “We encourage everyone in the entire country to participate.
“It’s one hour with no power and, no, you don’t have to sit up in your house with all your lights off in complete darkness but we do encourage people to turn off any unnecessary lights, even businesses, even if it’s your outside lights.
“Restaurants we encourage to do things like candlelight dinners.”
Mr Dean said: “The key thing, though, is not just what we do during the hour it’s what we do beyond the hour.
“That’s why this year we’re producing what we’re calling Earth Hour Live, an Earth Hour live broadcast and that’s going to be from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.”
He added that the programme would cover environmental challenges, solutions and work that has already helped to address the problems.
Mr Dean said: “We’ve taken the position that change is possible.
“As Greenrock, our goal is to stand in that position to inspire others to join us in terms of making those changes.
“When we look at carbon emissions in the country, how do we lower them? We can transition into renewable energy generation.
“Our transportation systems are a major contributor to our carbon emissions – how do we get to zero-emission vehicles all throughout the island?
“Food security is a big issue that we face locally and all around the world. How can we use our available land space to grow crops that can sustain and feed us as people?”
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said that the corporation had backed Earth Hour, now in its fifteenth year in Bermuda, “pretty much from the get-go”.
He added that lights outside City Hall would be switched off for an hour on Saturday from 8.30pm and that the works depot would also be in darkness for the event.
Mr Gosling said that during his tenure, the corporation changed the Bull’s Head car park lights to LED.
He added that solar panels were installed at the works depot and Pier 6 with more planned for Bull’s Head.
The mayor said: “Each and every one of those is going to have a long-term cost-saving impact on the cost of enjoying the city and for the ratepayer.
“We encourage all of our taxpayers to go along with this campaign.”
Mr Gosling said people could use the Earth Hour to think about how they can make commitments to protect the planet.
He added: “We do not have any do-overs with this world.”
Rebecca Martin, marketing and events manager at Wedco, said that a “lights out” event at Dockyard on Saturday would run during Earth Hour.
She explained: “We will encourage all our tenants and businesses in the area to participate as well by turning off all unnecessary lights and electrical fixtures.”
Ms Martin highlighted that restaurants and businesses would still be open as usual.
* Viewers can watch Earth Hour Live from 6.30pm on Saturday on the Greenrock website and Bermuda Broadcasting Company on Channel 82.