The yearly environmental event Earth Hour — which began in 2007 — will be held today. For one hour, starting at 8.30 PM local time, people are asked to turn off all non-essential light and power. The intention is that people reflect, in the darkness, on our over-reliance on carbon fuel and the need for sacrifice if climate change is to be effectively tackled.
According to organizers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this is a symbolic gesture serving to show public commitment to the desire for change.
Over 4500 cities, from over 131 countries across the continents, are expected to take part this year.
Yet the annual event is facing growing criticism. There are allegations of an ineffectual response, and critics say it is exploited by large corporations who want to align themselves with such campaigns to increase their green credibility.
In response, Earth Hour has decided to go one step further this year. Rather than simply ask for an hour's activity, the WWF wants to develop a legacy. With this in mind this year's event carries the theme ‘Beyond The Hour.’
‘Beyond The Hour’ asks visitors to its website to ''take action to make our world a better place.'' Thus, people are asked to post specific promises they will honor to continue their commitment to tackling climate change, whatever form of commitment they choose.
Egypt began its participation in this global event in 2009. During Earth Hour lights are turned off at prominent Egyptian landmarks such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Mohamed Ali mosque.