The Dubai Municipality participated in the annual Earth Hour initiative, which was hosted by Dubai Electrical and Water Authority (DEWA) aimed at raising global awareness about climate change. Earth Hour was founded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is a worldwide movement for the planet.
The event took place at Bay Avenue Park on Saturday 25 th March 2017, from 4:00pm until 10:00pm. The event was held worldwide annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. To mark this hour, all lights at the event were switched off and all attendees participated in a mass walk around the park in the name of taking action against climate change.
The initiative was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. Since then, it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide. Today, Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues.
“Earth Hour is an important event on the annual environmental calendar and marks a massive global effort in raising awareness about climate change and its impact on us both as individuals and communities,” said Khalid Mohammed Sharif, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector. “Reminding people that we are part of something much bigger, outside of our day-to- day lives, is important in changing behaviors,” he said.
Eng. Alya Al Harmoudi, Director of Environment Department in Dubai Municipality stressed the importance of a continued dialogue with the public. “We believe that events such as these provide us with a meaningful platform to engage with the public and strengthen our relationships with our partners,” she said, adding that “climate change cannot be overcome by the actions of any one entity and instead must be a combined effort.
The event included a variety of family entertainment, traditional shows and performances and was heavily oriented toward Emirati heritage and tradition. It looked back to the history of the UAE and was representative of a time where people consumed less, took only what they needed from their land and were in harmony with the environment.
Dubai Municipality’s Environment Department sought to encouraged the visitors to the event to understand the potential power they possess without using electricity by inviting them to use stationary bikes to blend their own fresh juices by pedaling. Blenders were loaded with fresh fruit of the user’s choice and they were asked to pedal to activate the blender before enjoying their own blended smoothie. Additionally, a personalized photo booth was also setup, encouraging people to take pictures to share on their social media and further spread awareness on Earth Hour.
During the lights-off one hour walk at 8:30pm, the entire park was illuminated with glow-in- the- dark apparel and glow-sticks, as the community walked as one in a pledge for the planet to reduce the impact of climate change.
This event further highlighted Dubai Municipality’s dedication to the environment and to climate change, by encouraging its community to reduce their carbon footprint by using less electricity and continuing to be mindful of its impacts.