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​​​Cometh the Earth Hour - cometh the moment

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure Services and Environment Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe has urged residents of Johannesburg – which has been nominated as an Earth Hour City Challenge finalist – to join millions of people around the world who will be participating in the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature’s Earth Hour Challenge by turning off their lights for an hour on Saturday March 28 to register their concerns against climate change and its devastating effects on the environment.
Residents of more than 7 000 towns and cities in 162 countries around the world will take part in this year’s challenge.

Speaking at the launch of the Earth Hour Challenge, MMC Mfikoe said people had the power to make a difference and to ensure that future generations inherit a better world in which resources will be used efficiently.

She encouraged residents to switch off their lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on the day.

“By participating in the WWF Earth Hour Challenge, the City is fostering a partnership with our residents and business community to avert the effects of climate change and to enhance the City’s adaptation initiatives,” MMC Mfikoe said.

Research by WWF has shown that human activity can assist in the fight against climate change. A shift from over-reliance on fossil fuels energy to cleaner renewable forms of energy can assist.

Climate change is causing many challenges around the world, such as rising sea levels, floods, heat waves, droughts and erratic rainfall patterns. These have had a negative impact on countries’ food security.

Through the City of Johannesburg’s “Use Your Power This Earth Hour”, residents will be able to register their concerns about climate change with WWF-SA to make their voices heard and to add to the growing number of global citizens calling for action ahead of the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, in December.

The City of Johannesburg is a signatory to the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions, a global standard for cities to measure their emission levels.  It was launched during the COP20 in Lima, Peru, South America.

The City of Johannesburg has been implementing a number of interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance energy efficiency and reduce demand. These include:

• Retrofitting council-owned buildings to improve lighting;
• Ensuring that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is a carbon reduction and income-generating system; 
• Promoting low-smoke alternative fire-lighting method (Basa njengo Magogo);
• Greening the City; 
• Minimisation of waste; and
• Installation of solar water heaters in low-cost housing, and public or street lighting as part of climate-proofing and sustainable human settlements programmes. 
Residents can join the energy-saving drive by:
• Switching off electricity appliances not in use;
• Switching off geysers during peak period; 
• Switching off electricity appliances on standby mode;
• Switching off lights, heaters and air conditioners in unoccupied rooms; and
• Showering instead of bathing to save water and electricity.

“You have the power to make a huge difference in the world,” MMC Mfikoe said.