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EARTH Hour, the global phenomenon to raise awareness of climate change, takes place on Saturday. Joburg and its partners are switching off for the hour.
JOBURG will join millions of people around the world in markingEarth Hour on the evening of 31 March.

Earth HourThe global initiative will take place from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday. For this one hour the lights will be switched off incities all over the world.

According to the City’s spokesperson, Nkosinathi Nkabinde,lights will be turned off at some of its iconic buildings and landmarks, including Nelson Mandela Bridge, Queen Elizabeth Bridge, both in Braamfontein, Telkom Tower in Hillbrow, Ponte in Berea, and FNB Stadium and Orlando Regional Park in Soweto.

“The City will be showing its support for Earth Hour and indicating the seriousness around tackling climate change,” said Nkabinde.

Earth Hour supported the City’s environmental management system and other projects designed to minimise Joburg’s impact on the environment and to reduce its carbon footprint, he added.

Organised by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to take a stand against climate change. It has since spread to many countries across the world.Held on the last Saturday of March annually, the event asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and appliances for one hour to raise awareness about climate change and the effect it has on our planet.

The Telkom Tower and Ponte in HillbrowThe Telkom Tower and Ponte in HillbrowThis year the core campaign for Earth Hour is “I Will If You Will” (IWIYW). It aims to get people, business andgovernments to take action and join a common goal of a positive environmental outcome.

SandtonCity complexwill show its support for this initiative by switching off the centre’s iconic office tower cap.

“Sandton City is a big part of the community and we are also highly visible on the skyline,” said the centre’s manager, SharonSwain. “It is important to us that we use the platforms we have to spread positive messages and we hope these initiatives have an impact on those who live and work in the area.”

In effort to cut down energy use, Swain said the centre had fitted its air conditioning units with speed drives which were switched off when not needed.

“Similarly, the lights on the perimeters of the parking are turned off during the day. The lift motors are more compact and draw less power. These are some of the changes that have been implemented to ensure a significant impact on the power required to run the centre.”

Joburg Zoo in Parkview has organised several activities to celebrate Earth Hour. These include a Zoo Snooze, or camp out on the night; guided night walks; stargazing with the Astronomy Club; and observing the hour around a bonfire.

Nocturnal animalsThe zoo is organising a guided evening tour for visitors to see nocturnal animalsThe Zoo Snooze will start at 4.30pm with a guided evening tour to see some of the zoo’s nocturnal animals, including the lions, owls, honey badger and servals.

The West Rand Astronomy Club will bring telescopes for visitors to sit back and enjoy some leisure time gazing at the stars. Visitors will also have the opportunity to sit around a bonfire and share captivating stories over dinner and roasting marshmallows.

Consol solar glass jars that use solar energy to produce light will be on sale. The lights at the zoo will go off at 8.30pm for 60 minutes and only the enchanting light of the bonfire will remain shining. The event is fully booked with over 100 visitors camping at the zoo.

In 2011, Earth Hour reached more than 1,8 billion people in 135 countries who switched off their lights, making it one of theworld’s greatest ever environmental mass actions. Some of the world’s most famous manmade marvels and natural wonders stood in darkness, including the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue and the Empire State Building.

For more activity ideas or information about Earth Hour visit the Earth Hour website.

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