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It's time to turn off the television and break out the candles. Earth Hour is on Saturday night and everyone is called on to show their commitment to fighting climate change.
ELECTRICAL appliances such as computers, fridges, radios and televisions are necessary in the modern world, and they do make lives easier, but they also contribute a great deal towards global warming.


The Soweto Gospel Choir will perfrom at the concertThe Soweto Gospel Choir will perfrom at the concertTo help in the fight to stop global warming, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the international environment and conservation organisation, is calling on all people to observe Earth Hour on Saturday, 26 March by switching off their lights and electrical appliances for one hour.

Switching off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm is a simple gesture to pledge commitment to fight climate change.

In Joburg, all public buildings and landmarks will go dark during the hour. An Earth Hour Concert will be held in Soweto, while the Joburg Zoo in Parkview will have a public lights out at the zoo camp. The multi-award winning Soweto Gospel Choir and the Bala Brothers will perform at the Orlando West Regional Park, where official South African Earth Hour celebrations will be held.

“The candlelight concert in Orlando will see Soweto join more than 4 000 cities and towns across 125 countries and regions, including 14 African nations, switching off their lights for Earth Hour in an historic moment of global unity,” says the executive communications manager for WWF South Africa, Zubair Sayed.

He urged people to go beyond the one hour and commit to environmentally sustainable action because, “if we all take action in our own lives, together we can make a huge difference, as our actions all add up”.

The Earth Hour Concert in Soweto is sponsored by the City of Joburg and Nedbank. The bank is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint and helping its customers and suppliers to reduce theirs, explains the company’s head of cause marketing, Maseda Ratshikuni.

“The City of Johannesburg is proud to be associated with Earth Hour 2011 and fully supports the initiative,” says Executive Mayor Amos Masondo. “An initiative like Earth Hour gives us the opportunity to promote leadership through action and to showcase environmental solutions.”

He too has encouraged Joburg citizens and residents to go beyond the hour by committing to being environmentally aware for the benefit of the city, the country and the wellbeing of all.


The zoo is holding a camp night to celebrate Earth HourThe zoo is holding a camp night to celebrate Earth HourLeading by example, the City, through its parks and open space managing company City Parks, is involved in a campaign called Bridging the Green Divide. It focuses on creating new parks, restoring conservation areas, beautifying road islands and planting trees.

Already 200 000 trees have been planted in the south of Joburg, which was a dry and dusty area compared to the green, treed north.

At the zoo
For Earth Hour, Joburg Zoo in Parkview is holding a camp night. Activities will begin at 5pm and will include guided night walks, stargazing with the Astronomy Club and observing the hour around a bonfire, telling jokes and stories.

Booking is essential. Phone Lebo Moalusi on 011 646 2000 extension 216 or send an email to Entrance is R90 per person.

South Africa’s participation in Earth Hour this year is particularly important, because the crucial COP17 climate change conference will be held in Durban this December. And the country will again be in the international spotlight, according to the WWF website.

World leaders meet at the annual conference to assess progress in dealing with climate change and negotiate obligations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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