The bout of unusual weather patterns in various parts of the world in recent years ought to be more than reason enough for us to understand climate change and how we play a part in it.
To avoid confusion, it’s good to know there are actually two definitions of the term ‘climate change’. Originally, and found in most geography textbooks, it means a long-term (of decades or more) change in the statistical properties of weather conditions; in more recent context, ‘climate change’ also refers to global warming, and it zeroes in on natural causes and human activity that can directly or indirectly cause a rise in global temperatures.
Greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere help retain sufficient heat to sustain life. The redundant emission of these gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, thus leads to more heat being trapped.
A prominent instance of man-made global warming is our energy consumption. The increasing demand for electricity for personal or commercial use means more fossil fuel, which emits large amounts of carbon dioxide, has to be burned at power plants. Similarly, most cars run on gasoline, also a fossil fuel.
Some may argue that compared to natural causes, human activity only contributes a small percentage to the emission of greenhouse gases. But the fact remains; we bear the brunt of the effects.
One global initiative that raises awareness towards the need to protect our environment is Earth Hour. Organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the annual Earth Hour encourages people around the world to turn off lights and electrical appliances for one hour.
This year, it will be taking place on March 26, Saturday, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. If you won’t be at home, here’s what else you can do in Singapore during Earth Hour.
Vendors at the official Earth Hour Party will be selling eco-friendly products, like this clutch by The Marymount Ladies Group.
Earth Hour Party
This year’s official Earth Hour celebration will be packed with a lineup of activities, including live performances by Jack & Rai and Dawn Ho, a carnival with eco-friendly products for sale, and the first ever Earth Hour Night Walk, where you can walk in the dark with celebrities like Nadya Hutagalung and Utt. Don’t forget to bring your picnic baskets and bees wax candles!
When: March 26, Saturday, 5.30pm – 10pm
Where: The Promontory @ Marina Bay
For more information and to register for Earth Hour Night Walk, visit http://earthhour.wwf.sg/earthhour2011.php.
Millenia Walk (9 Raffles Boulevard, Tel: 6883 1122)
For the third year running, the mall will dim or turn off non-critical lighting, including decorative lights on the mall’s façade and interior walkways.
Lights at the lobby of Royal Plaza on Scotts will be dimmed during Earth Hour.
Royal Plaza on Scotts (25 Scotts Road, Tel: 6737 7966)
The hotel will switch off lights in several areas, including its façade, lobby, staircase exits at alternate floors, and buffet restaurant Carousel. Guests at Carousel won’t only get to light up the candles at their own tables, they will also be able to choose from a selection of 10 types of organic vegetables at an organic salad station specially set up for the occasion.
313@somerset (313 Orchard Road, Tel: 6496 9300)
An additional hour will be dedicated to Earth Hour at this mall, which recently won an award for being an environmentally-friendly building in Singapore. From 8.30pm to 10.30pm, all façade and non-essential lighting will be switched off, and air conditioning will be set to a higher temperature. On the same day, between 5pm and 8pm, 313@somerset will also be having an Earth Hour ‘Green & Gorgeous Fashion Party’ to encourage female shoppers to swap clothes, shoes and accessories with others. To register online for the Fashion Party or for more information, visit www.313somerset.com.sg/sustainability.
IKEA Alexandra and Tampines (317 Alexandra Road / 60 Tampines North Drive 2, Tel: 6786 6868)
Façade lights will be switched off, and restaurants at both IKEA buildings will be lit by solar lamps during Earth Hour. At the same time, you will also be able to donate money to WWF Singapore at the restaurants.
Millenia Walk (8 Raffles Boulevard, Tel: 6883 1122)
The mall will dim non-critical lights at Earth Hour and visitors can also expect to get tips on saving energy through exhibitions and activities from March 21 to 26.
Created for the World Wildlife Fund, the CandleHour app turns your iPhone into a virtual candle in a sign of symbolic support of Earth Hour. It includes a reminder before the event and a geo-location feature that plots participation across the globe. Participants can also share what they did for Earth Hour via Facebook and Twitter.
Download at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wwf-candlehour/id426784859?mt=8
The Body Shop
During Earth Hour, 36 stores will turn off the lights to join the initiative to raise awareness of green issues. The beauty brand, renowned for its eco-friendly commitments, uses 100 per cent biodegradable, recycle paper bags that are printed using only water-based inks. The lighting grid in 11 stores have also been refitted to reduce the number of lights used, successfully cutting the average energy consumption by up to 30 per cent.